Red Cross working on the ground in Attawapiskat

AttawapiskatTHUNDER BAY – John Saunders is with the Canadian Red Cross. He is working with the team in Attawapiskat right now, and took the time this morning for a brief interview with NetNewsledger.com.

The Canadian Red Cross has mobilizied to help meet immediate needs in the community of Attawapiskat. The Red Cross continues to work closely with public authorities and the community to identify and address urgent, short-term needs. At the request of the community the Red Cross will also take on a donation management role to support these needs as identified.

NNL: John, thanks for taking the time. What is it that Canadians can do to help?

JS: First off, Canadians have been extremely generous already. The Canadians Red Cross has already received $80,000 in directed donations to help in Attawapiskat. Right now we are in the process of identifying the immediate needs on the ground in Attawapiskat. We are preparing a budget that will outline what is needed immediately to solve the problems.

We ballpark that about $250,000 is needed.

NNL: Are there some examples of some of the specific needs you can share with us?

JS: One of the concerns in with health and safety issues. For example for the people currently living in tents or shacks, one of the requirements is a fire extinquisher. That simple tool can help save lives.

We are also doing a needs assessment on what individual families and children need. Take winter clothing for example, we are doing a needs assessment and will be getting needed winter clothing for the children. We are asking that Canadians not start clothing drives however. The cost of getting materials up to Attawapiskat are high, and often the donation of goods can cost more to get to a community than it would be to purchase new clothing.

NNL: For those who want to help, how can they donate to the cause?

JS: Financial donations may be made online at www.redcross.ca, by calling 1-800-418-1111 or through your local Canadian Red Cross office. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked “Attawapiskat” and can also be mailed to the Canadian Red Cross, Ontario Zone, 5700 Cancross Court, Mississauga, ON, L5R 3E9.

NNL: John, thank you again for your time.