Canadian retailers step forward with assistance
MONTREAL — McKesson Canada is making a $25,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross through the McKesson Foundation to aid victims of the wildfires in northern Alberta.
The pharmacy retailer and distributor said this week that the McKesson Foundation also will match employee donations to wildfire relief efforts, up to a maximum of $2,500 per employee.
“Our thoughts are with the people of Fort McMurray and northern Alberta,” McKesson Canada president Alain Champagne said in a statement. “Alberta is an important hub in our network and is home to three of our distribution centers. Close to 300 of our employees live and work in the greater Edmonton area. We hope our support will assist individuals and families impacted by this situation.”
McKesson Canada noted that its independent retail pharmacy banners also are coordinating the delivery of relief supplies to communities impacted by the wildfire. Area owners of The Medicine Shoppe, Guardian, I.D.A. and Remedy’sRx pharmacies are distributing donated supplies including water, toiletries, sunscreen and dry food to relief centers in the region. Regular status updates are available via each banner’s consumer websites and Facebook pages.
“In neighborhoods across Alberta, pharmacists provide care to those in need every day,” stated Richard Brennan, senior vice president of retail banner services for McKesson Canada. “I am proud of our local pharmacist-owners who continue to demonstrate their commitment to caring during this time. They are pillars of our community.”
McKesson Canada joins a number of Canadian retailers providing assistance to the relief efforts for the ongoing wildfire in Alberta.
Today, convenience store chain Circle K said it has begun accepting customer cash donations for the relief effort at all of its Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland stores. The retailer’s parent company, Alimentation Couche-Tard, also will match all customer donations up to $150,000.
Last week, Walmart Canada and the Walmart Foundation announced a $500,000 commitment to support relief efforts in the Fort McMurray community, including a donation to the Canadian Red Cross and support by Walmart Canada for local associates.
In addition, Sobeys stores across Canada launched a campaign to provide support to the thousands impacted by the fires in the Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo, Alberta, areas. Customers can make cash donations at their local stores, with 100% of the donations supporting the Canadian Red Cross relief efforts in northern Alberta. Sobeys said it will match all in-store cash donations made to a maximum of $100,000 and provide $100,000 of in-kind products.
And Canada’s largest food and drug retailers, Loblaw Cos. and its Shoppers Drug Mart chain, have committed $300,000 for relief efforts in Fort McMurray, including cash donations and essential food and health supplies.
Western Canada pharmacy chain London Drugs on May 3 enabled donations supporting the Canadian Red Cross at checkout at all of its 78 stores as well as online at LondonDrugs.com. The retailer also has been donating medical and personal supplies. On May 10, London Drugs delivered a check for $70,000 to the Canadian Red Cross for the immediate support of Fort McMurray relief efforts, and as of that date $75,000 in urgent supplies and personal care items had been donated.
Firefighters are still working feverishly to contain the spread of the wildfire, which started May 1. According to media reports, the fire has grown to about 229,000 hectares, or more than 884 square miles, and has destroyed more than 2,400 homes and buildings, displacing over 80,000 people. No deaths have been reported from the fire.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the formation of an ad hoc cabinet committee to coordinate federal relief efforts for the wildfire. The committee is scheduled to meet Thursday. As part of its response to the disaster, the Canadian government said it will match every dollar donated to the Canadian Red Cross in support of the Fort McMurray relief effort.
The Canadian Red Cross reported Wednesday that, with the outpouring of support from Canadians, it will be able to provide $50 million in immediate financial assistance to the thousands of people displaced by the Alberta wildfire.
“People affected by these fires left their homes with almost nothing. We have listened to their needs and developed our plan for immediate assistance based on what we heard,” Canadian Red Cross president and chief executive officer Conrad Sauve commented. “This financial assistance allows evacuees to purchase what they require most after this disaster.”
*Editor’s Note: Article updated with more information on retailers’ relief efforts.