Neighbours rally for Sunalta fire victims during Calgary's annual Neighbour Day celebration


Neighbours rally for Sunalta fire victims during Calgary's annual Neighbour Day celebration
  1. Neighbours rally for Sunalta fire victims during Calgary's annual Neighbour Day celebration
    calgarysun.com
    The Sunalta community celebrated the very essence of Neighbour Day Saturday, coming together to raise funds for those displaced by a devastating fire earlier this…
    Top Stories

The Sunalta community celebrated the very essence of Neighbour Day Saturday, coming together to raise funds for those displaced by a devastating fire earlier this month.

On June 5, a construction site went up in flames, causing massive damage to the apartments on either side. 

Those forced to flee the blaze were left with only the clothes on their backs and were given temporary shelter at a hotel. 

The Sunalta Community Association decided to raise funds during Neighbour Day to help the displaced, with a goal of $40,000. 

"What we're trying to do is support these residents for their first month's rent and their damage deposit," said Tom Naested, president of the Sunalta Community Association.

"A lot of these individuals didn't have renter's insurance, a lot of them were refugees and immigrants, so we want to do what we can to support them."

Out of the 40 people forced from their homes, Naested said they've heard from about 16 families requiring assistance. 

Jodie Weide had been living in one of the affected apartments for over 20 years. She's now living with her mother until she can find other housing.

"When you see fire, you think about the person whose house burned down, you don't think about the other people around it," Weide said. "People still have their stuff sitting there and you can't access it, you can't do anything. It feels like your hands are tied."

Wiede said she's never been to a Neighbour Day event before, but she'll probably be going to them all after this. 

"This is just amazing that people would come out and support this."

For Daniel Asfeday, the day of the fire was bittersweet. It marked his second year in Calgary after immigrating from Eritrea, yet on that day he also lost everything he needed for school. 

Asfeday is a full-time student at the University of Calgary. He's currently working part-time and was hoping he could go to school with no loans. Now his plans have drastically changed.

"I have nothing right now, including laptops, including my books," Asfeday said. "I'm going to have to buy everything I need, starting from clothes and my computer." 

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