UFA continues to support co-operative efforts in Fort McMurray

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When people come together in times of tragedy we witness the strength of the co-operative spirit. Working together is exactly how the communities of the Wood Buffalo Regional Municipality have come back from the devastating fires of 2016. Today, UFA is proud to recognize a unique group of charities working together to help families who were un or underinsured at the time of the fires.

In May 2016, UFA Co-operative Ltd. announced $50,000 would be earmarked to support relief and rebuilding efforts in Fort McMurray.

Shortly after, UFA employees stepped up together—in true co-operative spirit—and raised almost $11,000 for the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Fires Appeal. UFA then matched the employees' generosity, making an initial donation of almost $22,000.

Today, UFA is honoured recognize the NSUUR (pronounced “insure”) as a worthy recipient of the remaining funds of that initial financial commitment. NSUUR is a group of charities which are working together in a co-operative way, by collaborating on certain parts of the process needed to support the 317 families who did not have sufficient insurance at the time of the fires to meet their needs for rebuilding their homes.

“Since the devastating fires in Fort McMurray, we have seen both heartache and victory—and above all, we have witnessed the power of the co-operative spirit. It’s inspiring to know that we can move forward together, and that the NSUUR group of charities is embracing the value of a co-operative approach,” said Carol Kitchen, UFA President and CEO. “We are proud to position our Spruceland business to offer over $35,000 gift in-kind which will be accessible to purchase supplies to support the NSUUR rebuilding projects,” said Kitchen. 


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NSUUR is made up of five charities including Habitat for Humanity Wood Buffalo, Samaritan’s Purse, Mennonite Disaster Services, FuseSocial and World Renew. By creating a centralized intake and evaluation system and coordinated volunteers, they have made the recovery process more efficient and cost-effective. When each rebuild comes with a $100,000 price tag (excluding gift-in-kind donations), stretching every dollar and helping as many families as possible is critically important to their mission. 

"NSUUR is excited to partner with UFA, through our local Spruceland Lumber store, to help vulnerable homeowners recover from the loss of their homes in the Horse River Wildfire. UFA's donation will reduce the financial burden on our partner homeowners, as we work side-by-side with them to reconstruct their lost homes," said Crystal Lewis-Wilton, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Wood Buffalo. 

This in-kind donation will help to immediately fund the building projects that are currently underway. 

“It’s true that there is strength in numbers and I am continually thankful to be able to lead this generations-old co-operative,” said Kitchen. “I reflect on what makes us different yet so unique. We are members, customers, partners, stakeholders and staff—but at the end of the day we are all just people bound together by our empathy and hope for shared success.”