Uhaul truck sends reinforcements to wildfire victims

The "Uhaul Truck of Hope" makes it across the Fraser Valley and into Alberta to aid the victims of the Fort Mac wildfire

The Uhaul Truck of Hope stops at Cooper's Foods Friday as part of their donation drive for the victim's in Fort Mac.

The “Uhaul Truck of Hope” made its way to Cooper’s Foods Friday afternoon as part of a donation drive to deliver non-perishable items to the victims of the Fort McMurray wildfire.

The relentless fire that destroyed parts of Fort Mac, resulted in the evacuation of approximately 88,000 residents, while destroying thousands of structures within the city. A number of business owners have been invited back into the city to assess damage to their properties, but the majority of residents remain displaced with their families.

Uhaul driver James Cousineau in partnership with Kary Movers and Canadian Relocation Specialists, started “Uhaul Truck of Hope,” shortly after word got out about the disaster in Fort Mac.

They started a social media campaign that has the world onboard, as tweets and Facebook posts showing photos of the truck en-route have sparked a movement to help victims, as people follow its progress.

Cousineau was on his second trip which started at Metro Vancouver Donation Drives and ended at the Edmonton Emergency Services Centre. The truck had several stops in the Fraser Valley including Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Hope.

“This is the second trip we’re making to Edmonton — I was there last week and I got to meet some of the victims, and it was just amazing to see how appreciative they were,” said Cousineau. “They really want to send a message of thanks to everyone who’s helped out.”

The Uhaul truck boasts signatures from visitors and donors across the provinces of Alberta and B.C. Signatures range from locals to people from New York, Germany, and Holland in a global outpouring of support for the victims.

“We’re here to show our love and to send thoughts and prayers to the families in Fort Mac,” said Karin Peters from Groningen, Holland, who signed the truck with her partner Wybren Hansma. “I hope they will be okay — my heart goes out to them.”

The truck stayed for a couple of hours at Cooper’s collecting donations, before it headed to Merritt, and then on to Edmonton to complete its second run. A third trip for the truck might be in the works according to Cousineau.

“Wherever we stop, people are coming up to us and donating items — it’s been a tremendous, tremendous outpouring of support.”

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