Creating An Army Of Volunteers, A Labour Of Love & Organization

Lara Murphy Community, News

When it came to organizing an army of volunteers to help folks clean up the horrific mess caused by recent flooding in Calgary, nobody was better qualified than Angie Lovegrove.

The Inglewood Community Association hall manager contacted Ward 9 Ald. Gian-Carlo Carra. He summoned his volunteer co-ordinator Ted Buracas for his expertise and the operation was soon in full steam, eventually rounding up 500 volunteers to help clean up close to 100 homes and businesses in the area.

“(Buracas) found me four to five people to come into the office and do social media,” said Lovegrove. “We were really busy from Monday (June24) to the next Sunday.

“They were getting me more and more volunteers and requests for help and we tried to match the two up, basically. We had three go-to-people – Bryan Bayley, Jeff Funk and Lara Murphy – who had the knowledge and tools to assess what needed to be done and sent to the volunteers to do the work. They took it upon themselves to be leaders.”

Lovegrove said Brian Imeson and Kelly Doody of the Inglewood Business Revitalization Zone also played significant roles in organizing the mass of volunteers, including church groups such as Christian Disaster Relief.

Often, they had too many volunteers for a job, or not enough, so many of them were sent to Erlton, Rideau-Roxboro and Bridgeland to chip in there.

“What really set Angie apart from everyone was she created the model that was taken to other neighbourhoods and organizers. She was ground zero for Calgary, organizing drivers and people,” said Carra. “Mayor (Naheed) Nenshi and (Fire Chief and emergency director Bruce) Burrell were really not going to be as successful as was a community, so Angie was the one organizing everyone.”

“What really set Angie apart from everyone was she created the model that was taken to other neighbourhoods and organizers. She was ground zero for Calgary, organizing drivers and people.” Alderman Gian-Carlo Carra

“There were some great volunteers doing great work, but it was the ideal model it was also cashing in on years of goodwill from the business community,” said Lovegrove.

“With all the help and donations, it didn’t take long to have too much food and other supplies. So, after the bulk of the work had been completed, leftovers were sent to the food bank, thrift store, Mustard Seed and Salvation Army,” she said.

“I’m the hall manager, so this is kind of what I do anyway. I was just doing my job,” said Lovegrove. “We had overwhelming support and volunteers and donations, so it was just great.

“We plan to do a special issue of our community newsletter to thank all of the volunteers who are the real heroes.”

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