When the Calgarian who helped found the Tim Hortons delivered a gift to the suffering denizens of Fort McMurray, it wasn’t snack-sized.
On Friday, Ron Joyce and his family delivered $2 million to the Red Cross to keep a river of generosity flowing to about 90,000 people forced to flee wildfires and their city.
The residents of the oilsands city simply deserve a break, said Joyce.
“With the economic downturn of the last two years and now this, the residents have had a tough time,” he said.
Joyce said he hopes the “significant gift” will inspire others of considerable means to do the same.
But, he said he’s already impressed with the deep sense of giving shown by Canadians for Fort McMurray.
“I think it’s great that people have stepped up to the plate,” he said, adding he enjoyed his time visiting Tim Hortons restaurants in Fort McMurray.
Damage from the wildfires is seen in the Beacon Hill neighbourhood in Fort McMurray. RYAN REMIORZ / THE CANADIAN PRESS
“They have a lot of rebuilding to do…it’s going to cost a lot of money in the next few years.”
He said the money was transferred on Friday, soon after his family discussed the move and concluded “we could afford it.”
It’s the biggest single donation made to the Canadian Red Cross to mitigate impacts of the Northern Alberta wildfires and a much-needed one, said agency president Conrad Sauve.
“The needs are great and this very generous donation from the Joyce family will help support individuals, families and communities as they work to rebuild their lives,” he said.
On Friday, the Red Cross said it had transferred $30 million of an initial $50 million in immediate cash help to wildfire evacuees.
The money has so far reached 64,000 people, said the organization that’s mobilized 700 of its personnel in the effort.
Ottawa has vowed to match all funds raised by the Red Cross for the crisis, with the Alberta government saying it’ll do the same with funds collected in the province.