Spent the later part of today at the Wellesley Community Center that has become the hub for helping those effected by the fire at 200 Wellesley St. Over 1700 residents are displaced as I type this. They will remain displaced until the fire marshal is able to check every nook and cranny for structural damage. This means residents can not re-enter the building or garage area. To be honest if past history is anything to go on, some of these residents will be permanently displaced from the damage I can see on the outside with the naked eye. Others may be out of there units for an extended time frame. I am basing this on helping out at other emergency scenes over the years.
Some important facts and some needs:
- There is a phone number that residents can call for important updates. That number is 416-981-5520
- Residents have been placed basically in 4 different locations in the city this makes communication difficult. As well again all announcements at the community center and all signs are English only. A number of immigrant families could not understand well what was being said. Translators were needed.
- When I got there donations had started to come in for clothes, but they were not being distributed. I having done some major volunteering in past sorted and got a clothing table off the ground. It was a necessity that was not being met. As of tomorrow residents with their yellow registration ticket can take that yellow form to the Goodwill store at 365 Bloor Street East and get $25 in clothing. Although I will say this I know thrift stores sometimes do not have enough PLUS sizes.
So what is needed:
From what I saw and heard
- a bank of batteries or chargers for wheelchairs and electric scooters.
- a bank of cellphone chargers ( from what I saw people carrying most were cheaper brad pay to go)
Items that will be needed on an ongoing basis:
- food, water, juice boxes, coffee, tea, ( Many businesses and organizations have done a great job so far in stepping up to the plate this needs to continue)
- personal hygiene goods : adult and baby diapers, diaper rash cream, soap, shampoo, hair brushes, combs, toothbrushes (they have enough toothpaste), femine hygiene products especially maxi pads, and hand sanitizer
- clothing even though some can go to Goodwill warm sweaters, and plus size clothes are a big need as are socks.
- Toys for the kids room (there is nothing like a displaced child)
If you wish to donate cash please donate to one of 3 organizations: The Canadian Red Cross, The Salvation Army or the United Way. These 3 organizations are spearheading the relief efforts and are working with the city to help.