Wood Buffalo Gets a Helping Hand from Across the Province

Travelling over 850 km, a Banff resident who simply refers to himself as Doug, felt compelled to help in some way after the devastating wildfire earlier this year. Not knowing where to start, he loaded up his van- a van that would be his sleeping quarters over the next several weeks-and headed to Fort McMurray.

Doug, a father of two, started volunteering at the age of seventeen in his home province of Ontario. He chipped in as the ringette coach for his sister’s team and eventually became secretary treasurer of the league, spending countless hours on the ice to help develop the skills and sportsmanship for the players. With a smile and a wink, Doug humbly mentioned the consecutive championships his team won.

Later in life, Doug moved to Banff to be with his son where he continued to volunteer his time in the rinks, teaching international workers to skate. He also spent time volunteering at senior socials, but he is most compelled to volunteer at the local Food Bank.

“I’ve not had an easy go in life, and have relied on the Food Bank – so that is where I give back the most.” 

Fort McMurray Food Bank

In early August of last year, Doug traded his wages for a supply of excess flooring that he knew could have purpose in a place that had just experienced an unfathomable event. He loaded the flooring in his van and drove to Fort McMurray hoping his small contribution could help in some way. Upon arrival, he drove to Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways looking to see where the flooring would be most useful. Unfortunately, with these areas being restricted, he couldn’t connect with anyone to do what he came here to do, which was help.

He didn’t give up easily! The next step was to head to a familiar place and for the next several weeks, day in and day out he volunteered at the Fort McMurray Food Bank. He explained the story of the flooring and stressed that he wanted it to go to an individual or individuals who lost their home and didn’t have insurance. With this information we connected Doug with Habitat for Humanity. Because of Doug’s determination and kind heart, Habitat for Humanity now has 300 square feet of hardwood flooring earmarked for their rebuild projects and our local food bank has countless volunteer hours put in by one man wanting to make a difference.




When asked what the most important part of volunteering was, Doug replied: “It’s our civic duty. It is the duty of common humanity, we need to see more people out in the community- out in any community- volunteering their time.”

When asked what compels him to put in a full day’s work volunteering at the food bank, he replied with a question: “Why do I fill a box with food all day?

 “Because, people need it.”

His answer was incredibly powerful. It is so simple, yet so true.  People volunteer because someone out there needs the help. So ask yourself this: will you, too, fill a box for someone some day?