CALGARY -- While firefighters are tasked with saving lives and homes from devastation, a local charity is helping families manage the emotional aftermath of needing such help.

The charity's approach is as simple as it is effective: After an emergency, and after crews have left, the Calgary Firefighter’s Association Charitable Foundation provides a backpack.

The backpacks are filled with toiletries, Kleenex, lip balm, underwear and gift cards to help supplement the essentials needed after a house fire.

The most poignant item added is a letter from someone who has also experienced a house fire, offering advice and empathy.

“Most of us live here in Calgary, we’ve elected to join the fire department and the fire service because we choose to serve,” said John Moersch, team lead of the foundation.

“We want to be able to help the people of Calgary, not just leading up to and taking care of the immediate emergency but afterwards as well.”

Since June 2018, the charity has delivered 16 backpacks, but organizers say they would like to hand out many more.

More information on donating to the backpack program is available online.