Moose Jaw community rallies for fire victims

Justin
Justin Crann
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Concert fundraiser the first of several efforts

Chris Hall was in the audience at a fundraising concert for those who lost their homes and businesses in the Jubilee Block fire.

Chris Hall (left), one of the victims of the Jubilee Block fire, listens while Stadacona Soul performs Sunday night at a fundraiser at W.J. Jones and Son Funeral Home for those who lost their homes and businesses in the blaze.

Hall is one of the victims of the blaze, which displaced him and 19 other Moose Javians and destroyed four businesses on High Street West.

He said he was touched by the way the community has rallied.

"I'm glad that everybody has taken the time to show they care for all of us who were affected by the fire," Hall told the Times-Herald during the concert. "Anywhere else I've lived, they've never really pulled together like this. Even in small towns — they've done it, but not to this extent.

"It's nice to see the community here is this amazing," he added.

The concert, held Sunday, was organized by Dayna Smith-Short, who has also put together an auction to raise further funds for the people whose belongings were lost in the fire.

"I don't live far from where this happened and I was one who was watching when it was happening," she said. "It was devastating to watch. But when something like this happens, you know there needs to be a response … it takes a community to come together."

Smith-Short began to organize fundraising efforts the day after the fire, making contact with the Red Cross and Salvation Army to figure out how she could help.

"I had to understand how it works with the Red Cross and the Salvation Army because there's processes in all of this," she said.

Smith-Short quickly became a liaison between the general public and the organizations, who are providing direct relief to those impacted by the fire.

It's a role she's happy to fill.

"I thought it was really great that I could be that middle person, too," she said. "A lot of messages have come to me through Facebook and I gave out my cell number so a lot of text messages have come through too … It was great that I could do this."

Like Hall, Smith-Short said she is amazed by and proud of the way Moose Jaw has rallied.

"I'm not originally from here, but Moose Jaw is such a great community," she said. "It's a small community, but we're all here for everybody else and it's amazing how everyone pulls together."

FURTHER FUNDRAISERS PLANNED

Along with a concert, Dayna Smith-Short has organized an online auction to raise funds for those who have lost everything in the Jubilee Block fire.

The auction, which is being held through the Facebook group "Heart of the Community Fire Fundraiser," has received plenty of donated items from various businesses and individuals, Smith-Short said.

The sheer volume of donations has forced Smith-Short to change the initial plan of holding one, 72-hour event.

"All of the items (for the auction) were donated, and they've been coming in since the idea of doing the online auction was thought up," said Smith-Short. "The idea was that the auction would start Monday at noon and close after 72 hours, but the way things have been coming in, we don't want to say 'no.'

"We're going to give items 72 hours from when they come in for people to bid on them," she explained.

To see and bid on auction items, Moose Javians are encouraged to join the Heart of the Community Fire Fundraiser group on Facebook.

A second fundraiser, a steak night at Chillers Brew Pub, has also been organized but not by Smith-Short.

There will also be 50/50 and other prizes, and organizers of the event will be collecting cash and clothing donations. 

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from Morgan at (306) 631-1576 or Marissa at (306) 313-1300.

You can follow Justin Crann on Twitter or like him on Facebook.

Organizations: Red Cross, Times-Herald, Community Fire Fundraiser

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, High Street West

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