Fort McMurray evacuees take refuge in Malakwa

Family grateful for support received in the Shuswap.

Michael and Amanda Mack, who fled the fires in Fort McMurray with their six-month-old baby to live with Michael’s parents in Malakwa, say they received plenty of help and support along the way.

The Macks fled Fort McMurray at about 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3. That evening they received confirmation their house, in the Waterways neighbourhood had burned.

After regrouping in Anzac, Alta., south of Fort McMurray, with extended family also fleeing the fire, the Macks proceeded to the Lac La Biche evacuation centre where they received assistance, including two nights of free accommodation at a campground in the area and an opportunity to start their claims with their insurance company, who cut them a cheque on the spot to help cover the cost of evacuation.

When asked what donated items were needed most by those evacuating Fort McMurray,  Amanda replied, “For us it was definitely the diapers and the clothes for the baby. The toiletries and the bedding were amazing and the towels were amazing to receive. Something like a nice warm shower with a clean towel is a small blessing.”

The help didn’t end when the Macks reached the Shuswap, where they received donations of cash from friends of Michael’s parents and other citizens of Malakwa.

When shopping at the Walmart in Salmon Arm, Amanda said the fashion department manager offered to buy the pants she was trying on for her and then another Fort McMurray evacuee whose house was still intact paid  their entire bill.

Amanda also said they were given discounts of 75 per cent at the Bootlegger location in the mall and 20 per cent at Sport Check and Marks Work Warehouse.

“Help has definitely been plentiful along the way,” Amanda said.