Local agencies are showing their support to families who have been evacuated 0
Rod McLeod, program assistant/summer student with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Portage, and Cathy Vanstone, executive director with Tupper Street Family Resource Centre, join evacuated kids from St. Theresa Point, Manitoba, at Canad Inns Portage la Prairie on Aug. 3, 2012 for a morning of games, crafts and snacks. (Angela Brown, Portage Daily Graphic)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Portage along with Tupper Street Family Resource Centre held a morning of fun activities for evacuated kids staying in Portage.
Cathy Vanstone, with Tupper Street Family Resource Centre, said the agency staff came together to provide games and crafts for the youth to take part in as a way to offer the families some fun outlet to pass time while dealing with their stresses.
"It is a fun diversion activity to do," said Vanstone. "Maybe they can even take the craft home as a positive reminder about their time here in Portage."
The families have been in Portage for about 10 days so far, and are expected to be going home soon. They were initially evacuated from St, Theresa Point, Garden Hill and the surrounding areas due to the threat of forest fires in their area.
"We know people had to leave in a hurry and they just don't bring all the things that people might need when they are spending as long a time in one place," said Vanstone. "No one knew how long there were going to be here. If there is anything we can do to help, we have the resources and staff."
Big Brothers also had staff providing activities for the kids Friday.
"For Big Brothers Big Sisters, we agreed to take the (age) nine, ten and older and do some games, " said Dawn Froese, with Big Brothers in Portage.
"We were hoping to do outdoor games, but it looks like it might rain. We'll try to do some active type games, but we also brought some board games too."
About 10 children came for the activities fun event at Canad Inns.
"We have these kids at the hotel. They are stuck, they are board. We can actually do something," said Froese. "We do lots of games with our own kids in our program, so it is very easy for us to come and help out."
Renata Beaulieu, co-ordinator for the evacuees staying at Canad Inns in Portage la Prairie, said the evacuees were expected to be leaving shortly since the fires have now been clear and it is safe to go home. The Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters are involved in flying everyone back home.
"We heard the fire evacuation is over," she said. "The first plane left at 9 o'clock (Thursday). We are going to have to wait and see, because our evacuees are the last ones who are going home ... So we might be here for a few more days."
"It's going to take awhile, because there are over 1,000 evacuees" -- from St. Theresa Point, Garden Hill, Wasagamack and Red Sucker Lake," Beaulieu added.
About 80 evacuees from St Theresa Point and Garden Hill are still staying in Portage until they are able to return home.