Calgarians collect clothing and donations for victims of Marlborough house explosion
Community members gathered Saturday to donate gently used clothing, gift cards and cash, along with messages of support for the victims of a devastating northeast Calgary house explosion.
The incident occurred on Monday March 27 when firefighters were called to 783 Maryvale Way N.E. just before 9 a.m., for reports of an explosion that was felt across much of the neighbourhood.
Ten adults were injured, one home was completely destroyed and 10 others were damaged in the blast believed to be caused by a gas leak.
All of the victims were members of the South Sudanese community and continue to recover in hospital.
It’s why Gar Gar, a community and youth advocate for the South Sudanese community decided to help organize a clothing drive Saturday held at the Forest Lawn Community Association.
“When these people get out of the hospital, all they will have is a hospital gown so the fact that their house is gone and gone with everything, it’s just giving them hope,” he said.
Firefighters attend the scene of a house explosion that injured several people, destroyed one home and damaged others in Calgary, Alta., Monday, March 27, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)
“And when they get better the first thing they will be worried about is "what am I going to wear or where am I going to stay?", and so those are other stressors that are coming for them.”
Deng Deng Tiordit, chairman of the Twic Community Association of Canada says most of the people injured came from inside the home where the explosion occurred.
He confirmed to CTV News that at least two people have broken bones which include injuries to the knees and back. Three of the victims still remain sedated and no one has yet been released from hospital.
“To receive something like this will mean everything for them once they get out,” Tiordit said.
“These donations will be a big deal for them because at the very least they will have some clothes to start their life again.”
Tiordit adds that all of the victims are also above six feet tall, meaning any clothes donations will have to be able to fit those sizes.
“The shortest guy is six feet, but most of them are even taller than that,” he smiled.
“They are South Sudanese, we are tall by nature so we are asking the community not to donate any children's clothing.”
A Go Fund Me page has raised more than $21,000 as of Saturday afternoon.
Several people made donations Saturday to the clothing drive, including Barry Kenley, who just hopes the entire community can wrap its arms around those who need this kind of support.
“I had some extra clothing and extra toiletries and stuff at home. So I figured it's probably better off with other people at this time,” he said.
“I just hope everybody gets well soon and I'm sure they'll get fantastic treatment, great community support, and whoever else can assist by donating anything to people who need it.”
Others donors like Darrell Howard also hope that even the smallest donation can go a long way.
“This is just our way of letting them know we care and that we're here for them.”
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