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Lutheran university college responds to Slave Lake fire

May 16, 2011 2 Comments

by Keven Drews

Slave Lake's town hall catches fire Sunday evening. (Photo: CTV Edmonton News)

EDMONTON — Lutherans spent Monday morning collecting food, clothing, blankets and toiletries for residents of a northern Alberta town who have fled a devastating wild fire.

According to media reports, the blaze – fanned by winds as high as 100 kilometres an hour – has already destroyed Slave Lake, Alta.’s RCMP detachment, high school, radio station, town hall and library.

As many as 7,000 residents fled the community Sunday night, after the fire caught locals off guard. The provincial government says the community is now 90 per cent empty, and only emergency officials like firefighters are still around.

Early Monday, Concordia University College of Alberta announced on Facebook it was accepting donations at Student and Enrollment services, in the university college’s Hole Academic Centre on its 7128 Ada Boulevard campus in Edmonton.

“People are in need,” said Andreas Schwabe, executive aide at CUCA.

He explained the college’s relief efforts are just getting underway, and CUCA is going to tap into its student food bank to help out.

“We’ll be opening our food bank…to stock up and give to those in need, too,” he said. “So if you’re in the Edmonton area, we have plenty of space to hold a hefty stock of canned goods.”

Schwabe suggested people send cash donations to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, two organizations which are now swamped.

“We’re just waiting on them to tell us what they need,” he said.

Lutheran Church–Canada President Robert Bugbee is asking Lutherans to pray for those who have suffered losses or coping with damage to their property and for those attempting to fight the fire.

“This is a tragic and desperate situation,” the president said. “These people need our prayers and whatever spiritual and physical support we can provide as they rebuild their lives.”

Sharlene Van Maanen, who works at Lutheran Church–Canada’s Alberta British Columbia District office, said there are no LCC congregations in Slave Lake.

The two closest LCC congregations are Redeemer Lutheran in High Prairie, Alta. and Good Shepherd in Valleyview, Alta.


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