The community is coming together on Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21 to hold a fundraising yard sale to support Canadian Red Cross fire relief efforts in Fort McMurray.
Cara Voisin, owner of Twirl Photography in Otterville, Cathy Lyn Ryan, from the Facebook group Talk Tillsonburg, and Century 21's Melissa Verspeeten are spearheading the community effort, and collecting items for the yard sale.
Zehrs manager Dave Wattie offered space in their parking lot at Norfolk Mall, 400 Simcoe Street.
"We have at least 500 items now," said Voisin last Wednesday. "People have been giving us stuff for the last two days, and it's crazy the amount of stuff.
"All the proceeds from the yard sale will go to the Red Cross for the victims of Fort McMurray, and it will be on behalf of the people of Oxford, Norfolk and Elgin Counties, anybody who is involved."
The yard sale begins Friday, May 20 at 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., and continues Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"There are three drop-off locations – my house at 288 Main Street East in Otterville, and in Tillsonburg at Cathy Lyn's house, 57 Trottier Drive and at Century 21 at 86 Broadway.
"We still need volunteers and we still need donations. The volunteers are needed to help us with event sales – it's going to be huge. We've got 20 tables, which are being donated by Tillsonburg Rent-Alls. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be sold by Century 21. It's going to be huge."
On May 1, a fire southwest of Fort McMurray, swept through the community on May 3 destroying more than 2,400 homes and buildings.
"I felt devastated. I felt a huge connection to those people," said Voisin. "I have a friend who is a firefighter out there. And because it's here in Canada, it felt really close to home. And kind of scary that it could be so close to home. I felt awful, I cried. Those people have nothing. And we have so much, so all we can do is help.
"I'm proud of him, my friend over there. They're exhausted, they're tired, they're working hard. I just wanted to do something to help."
Personal donations to the Red Cross will be doubled by the government, said Voisin, and that may affect who actually makes the official yard sale donation.
"We're going to figure out how to make it work."