Thousands of people were evacuated, displaced, homes were flooded, emotions were stirred up, sleep patterns were imbalanced and stress overtook the entire city when the Bow and Elbow flooded on June 21st. The Art of Living Foundation, responded immediately by helping a friend whose basement was flooded and the next house and the next and the next until we had cleaned up about 5-6 homes in 3-4 days. More people joined in until along with Alderman John Mar and a few other organizations we started, what some people thought was impossible and turned it into “Mission Possible” - that was the name given to us by the Alderman.
Over 5000 volunteers joined in to clean up the entire Mission area and in a week almost 90% of the clean up was done. We had the support of a number of corporates like SNC Lavalin, who sent truck loads of supplies for the purpose, Tim Hortons for providing donuts and more everyday for breakfast, Enmax, Altalink, Trans Alta and many more who sent their employees in big groups to volunteer with us. Apart from Alderman John Mar, we also had Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Hon'ble Manmeet Bhullar, Minister of Service, Alberta, and Member of Parliament Joan Crockatt who came to not only support and visit us but also give a hand to help us clean up.
In 10 days, The Art of Living Calgary along with other organizations mobilized 5000 citizens to volunteer, who cleaned up over 200 houses - helped restore lives and rebuild homes. We had a flood victim come and share with us that her parents home was flooded and we sent volunteers there. She says her home alone saw over 1000 hours of volunteering. Our first response has left us volunteers feeling exhilarated and the home owners feeling grateful.
Its now time for stage 2 which is Mental Health. We are coming to a stage where after the clean up, the loss caused by the flood will soon hit the home owners and the exhaustion caused by the relief work will need to be dealt with by the volunteers. We have begun to talk to government bodies about setting up sessions to help deal with this. Will hopefully begin soon.
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