June 1, 2016

There’s no worse feeling than being told that you have minutes to grab your most prized possessions, and whatever else you can fit into your vehicle and flee from your home. For the residents of Fort McMurray, this was the reality on May 3rd.

The winds had shifted direction, and the nearby wild fire that had been brewing was headed towards the city. Over 80,000 people had to get out, and a mandatory evacuation was in effect for this northern Alberta city separating families and creating huge chaos. Numerous neighborhoods burned to the ground, with about 2,400 homes being lost to the fire now nicknamed, ‘The Beast’. Over 2,000 firefighters are currently working harder than ever to get the fire contained.

“When you hear about these sorts of tragedies happening to people, you just want to help out,” says Daren Kennett, Founder of Hi-Pro Feeds in Okotoks, Alberta. “We were getting asked to donate feed for animals that were affected by the fire. There were many pets that were grabbed by their owners during the evacuation including horses. They were safe, but didn’t have food for them.”

Hi-Pro Feeds decided that the best use of dollars would be to support the Canadian Red Cross. The company matched employee donations and together contributed over $17,000 to assist those affected by the wildfire.

“We decided that the best way to support those affected by the fires was through the Canadian Red Cross. Our people wanted to get involved by donating also,” mentions Dean Prevost, CEO at Hi-Pro Feeds. “Hi-Pro Feeds matched the employee donations, and we are extremely proud to deliver these funds knowing that both the provincial and federal governments will also be matching them. This goes much further than a few pallets of dog or cat food.”

There has been more than $102 million raised through the Canadian Red Cross so far. It is a record campaign that handed out over $50 million immediately to the evacuees to assist in finding temporary living arrangements, purchase new clothes and other items.

“There’s no question that we can take things for granted in our lives. When you see people dealing with losing their homes and their possessions it is heartbreaking,” continues Kennett. “I am glad that we could contribute to the community of Fort McMurray.”

The months ahead will be challenging for the communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. They will begin to rebuild and help others to make the community great again. Hi-Pro Feeds is proud to assist in making Fort McMurray strong, and hopefully our contributions will help to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety of those affected.