A wildfire has engulfed the Canadian town of Fort McMurrey, Alberta, and caused the mass evacuation of over 90,000 people. Chabad in Calgary, under the leadership of Rabbi Menachem Matusof, has been hard at work arranging food and accommodation for those displaced by the inferno.
From The Times of Israel:
According to Canadian census data, approximately 70 Jewish people live in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which encompasses Fort McMurray and many surrounding areas devastated by the fire.
Alberta’s local Jewish community promptly stepped up to assist evacuees from Fort McMurray once the fire began spreading rapidly.
Rabbi Menachem Matusof, the executive director of Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta, said Chabad tried to contact every Jewish family in their records living in the region. He said those reached by phone were all safe, having mostly evacuated to Edmonton, along with a few to Calgary.
Chabad helped arrange accommodation for evacuees in the two major cities and also reached out Friday to provide challah for Shabbat to Jewish families who had evacuated.
“In the long run our plan is to offer at least to start mezuzahs for people for their homes once they rebuild and move back but that’s probably a long way down the road,” he said. “I’m sure that there will be a lot of emotional support that people will need once they realize what hit them and once they realize what they’ve lost.”