Flood-weary Quebecers resorting to crowdfunding to raise money

Many people in flood-stricken areas aren't waiting for governments, aid agencies and insurance companies to compensate them for their losses — some are resorting to raising money online.

Several new GoFundMe pages have sprung up in the last few days, created by those who've been devastated by the floods.

And people have been stepping up and opening their wallets.

Steph Diepen's sister Jamey created one of the pages. She created a GoFundMe page for Steph, her husband Ro, and their two kids, who live on Ile-Mercier, the small island off Ile-Bizard which was all but submerged by flood waters.

The photos on their page are astounding — water is nearly waist deep in the kitchen, bathroom, and the children's bedrooms. The family returned to the home on Tuesday after they were forced to evacuate on Sunday.

"I think we're still in a whirlwind right now," Steph told CJAD 800's Jon Pole. "Everything started on Tuesday when the water started to come back, last Tuesday. We worked really really hard doing the sandbagging, buying pumps, trying to get the house fortified. We actually thought we were going to beat this thing. But then, nature kept throwing more water at us. Come Saturday night, it was more than we could handle."

In less than 24 hours, the page surpassed its initial goal of $12,000.

"We're blown away," Steph says. "It's mind-boggling how many people have reached out to us, and we're so thankful for all the support we had."

She says the home will have to be completely rebuilt, which will take a lot more money — but for the moment, their focus is on purchasing supplies, and replenishing their savings, which had been depleted in their vain efforts to save their home.

Meanwhile, another man is turning to crowdfunding to pay for repairs to his 93-year-old grandmother's home — which he wasn't able to save from the floodwaters.

Raymond Stelmashuk also created a GoFundMe page Tuesday. He told CJAD's Andrew Carter he spent much of last week filling hundreds of sandbags to try and save the home, which his late grandfather built about 50 years ago near the l'Anse-a-l'Orme nature park, as a fishing shack.

But now, the relentless flood waters caused the foundations — cinderblocks and columns, rather than poured concrete — to shift.

"The house shifted. It needs to be lifted an put on a foundation to save it, which is a little bit of a costly endeavor. Our family by no means doesn't have that kind of coin to actually be able to do that."

Aside from a new foundation, Stelmashuk says the house needs new floors, new plaster on the walls, and new carpets.