Donations pour in for Alberni fire victims

Tenants look on in disbelief as their former apartment building is leveled by a fire on Tuesday morning. The tenants lost everything and community agencies are accepting donations on their behalf.

Displaced tenants from the fire that ripped through an apartment building on Tuesday are still in need despite the fact that donations are pouring in to local agencies.

The Salvation Army is coordinating donations and accommodation for the families, Capt. Neil Wilkinson said.

The Salvation Army gymnasium was empty at 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.

But it was filling with donations of clothes, household furniture and eight beds on Wednesday.

“Words can’t describe how this community is stepping up,” Wilkinson said.

The organization is still trying to finds beds for all 56 tenants, and it got a big boost from The Brick, which donated 10 queen-sized beds.

The Salvation Army still needs more beds, living room and kitchen furniture, as well as dishes and linens.

Donations can be dropped off at the Salvation Army gym at 4841 Redford St. Questions can be answered at 250-723-6913.

Donations are going well but housing tenants is still a challenge, Wilkinson said.

“We’ve managed to find 18 units of housing and are still working to pair people up with accommodations,” he said.

The Salvation Army is receiving help from local mental health outreach workers in finding new housing.

“I’m amazed at how fast the community responded to the call for help when it went out,” Wilkinson said.

Meanwhile down the road, the Port Alberni Friendship Centre is also accepting donations for tenants, many of who are aboriginal.

“Anything people can give would be appreciated,” a centre spokesperson said.

“Everyone from the building needs something.”

Clothing and furniture are being accepted at the centre (3555 Fourth Ave.) daily until 4:30 p.m. this week.

The centre hosted a lunch for the tenants on Wednesday and Thursday.

And the Bread of Life is accepting cash donations for tenants to buy miscellaneous goods as needed.

People can drop donations off at the Bread of Life – 3130 Third Ave. Cheques can be made out to the Bread of Life.

“Just specify that the donation is for our homeless fund, which will be used specifically to benefit the tenants,” director Cindy Sjoholm said.

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