On a whim, Sue Lowen put an appeal to friends and family to collect clothes and supplies for those affected by the wildfires in Alberta.
She set up a Facebook page last week, attracting more than 500 followers within a few hours — and then came the donations.
Lowen's initial plan was to put together a single pallet of clothes that could be placed on a truck that was already on its way to Alberta, and if she couldn't arrange that she would drive it herself on the back of her pickup truck.
Boxes and bags of donated clothes and supplies began taking over her living room, soon spreading to her kitchen, basement, then garage.
"We got everything. When people started asking about what they should donate, I told them, 'if you were sending your kid to college for the first time, anything you would send with them,' because most of them are starting over again," said Lowen.
It soon became apparent Sue was going to need more than a pickup truck to get the goods to Alberta.
"Of course I didn't think before I posted it on social media, but the logistics of getting this stuff to Alberta was the biggest hurdle of all," said Lowen.
A transport truck owned by New Era Logistics from Cambridge, Ont. will pick up the clothes Sunday.
Today volunteers packed boxes of clothes — organized by gender and size — and placed them in a storage container lent to Lowen by Christie's RV.
Lowen expects the process will continue until the transport truck arrives Sunday, at which time about 12 pallets of boxes will be loaded on their way to Alberta.
Although the Canadian Red Cross is asking people not to donate clothes in their effort because they don’t have the manpower to sort and distribute them, Lowen said she hopes to get the supplies directly to those in need.
"All of the money they are going to get, yeah it's going to replace some [items]. But if you have ever fought with an insurance company, you know you're not going to have it right now," said Lowen.