A Brandon woman, and her two sons ended up having to distribute diapers in the parking lot at the Victoria Inn, after a Red Cross worker had informed her that “they were not accepting donations at this time like that as diapers were not needed.”
Melissa McLaughlin tells bdnmb.ca that her 7-year old son Lucas had the idea to drop off some diapers to the evacuees of the northern forest fires, following her 4-year olds (Landon) inquiry as to why there was so many buses parked outside the hotel.
Melissa say that upon asking where she could place the unopened diapers, she was told they were not needed. At that moment an evacuee, with a baby in her stroller, interrupted saying that her baby was on her last 3 diapers and that diapers were indeed needed. Melissa says the women was informed that diapers were coming, but when asked when, the worker could not give a date/time. The lady in the stroller informed Melissa that the Red Cross had been saying that for a few days now. Hearing this Melissa proceed to hand out the diapers to the lady, with the stroller, and was instructed that she could not do so inside the room they were renting and that she would have to do so outside. At that point she tells bndmb.ca that she went outside with her boys, ripped open the bag of diapers, and handed the diapers out to anyone in the parking lot with babies and toddlers. “Some came rushing across the parking lot to collect a few. It felt like handing out candy on Halloween. That was the boys favourite part.” says Melissa.
BDNMB.CA did reach out to the Red Cross at the Victoria Inn but was met with a no comment. They did however reply to Melissa on Facebook (see images below) thanking her for thinking of those who have been impacted, and with a link to a YouTube video explaining why they don’t accept physical donations like diapers.