Cottonwood fire victims to receive food-and-merchandise gift cards

Friday, August 5, 2016

COQUITLAM – The Coquitlam Foundation has made a major disbursement of funds from the almost $30,000 it has collected to assist families, many of them Syrian refugees, who were displaced by the July 28 apartment fire at 550 Cottonwood Ave. in Coquitlam.

On Aug. 5, foundation officials presented a cheque for $23,000 to representatives of the Coquitlam Firefighters Charitable Society (CFCS). In turn, the society will distribute food-and-merchandise gifts cards of up to $400 per person to the fire victims.

As a registered non-profit charity, the Coquitlam Foundation has been the primary recipient of funds to support the displaced families. To date, it has received scores of donations from across Canada from individuals and corporations, including a $20,000 donation from Concert Properties Ltd., owner of the buildings damaged by the fire.

“This overwhelming generosity is an example of our community’s immediate and generous response to those in need,” says Janet Toddington, chair of the foundation. “We are thankful to have been chosen to be the vehicle through which the community has been able to express its philanthropic desires.”

Executive director Jill Cook added that additional funds will be distributed in the coming weeks.  “Our foundation exists to meet community needs, but it takes the community’s generosity to make this happen,” Cook says.

CFCS president James Martins points out that one of his society’s purposes is to raise funds and contribute to those who have suffered loss arising out of an accident or misfortune. “As firefighters, we pride ourselves on helping serve and give back to the community in which we are so blessed to work,” Martin says, “which is why our charity is also donating $2,000 towards this Cottonwood Fire Appeal Fund.”

The firefighters’ disbursement plan is based on information provided by the property-management company, amounts raised thus far and the evaluated circumstances presented in terms of losses sustained. Thus, residents of Cottonwood buildings 18 and 19 will each receive $150; those in building 20 will receive $200; and those in building 21 will receive $400. “We will be reassessing all information as we continue to receive it and as more funds pour in,” Martins says.

The Real Canadian Superstore is making the gift cards available at a discounted rate; as well, the Superstore at 1301 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam is donating an additional $500 in gift cards.

“We are very happy to collaborate with the Coquitlam Foundation, which has helped receive these donations and we applaud those members in their organization who have worked hard to help us all reach the goal of helping the residents from the 550 Cottonwood Fire,” Martins says.

The chair of the foundation’s grants committee, Ron Grender, points out that the foundation is continuing to accept donations to support the displaced families. Please visit, click on the Donate Now link, select Community Fund in the drop-down menu, and write “Cottonwood Fire” in the message box.

The public is invited to attend the foundation’s AGM at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 in the Coquitlam Foundation Room of the City Centre Branch of the Coquitlam Public Library. Please email if you plan to attend.

The foundation distributed about $100,000 in grants, bursaries and scholarships in its 2015-’16 grants-cycle year, and manages $2.8 million in 28 foundation-directed and donor-advised funds. The foundation always welcomes donations to all its funds, including its special Coquitlam Foundation 125 Legacy Fund, commemorating Coquitlam’s 125th anniversary in 2016. The Coquitlam Foundation is registered with Canada Revenue as a charitable organization, 890762347 RR0001.