Shelters are opening their doors and communities are pulling together as many displaced Quebecers seek help to get through this year's flooding.
The West Island YMCA is offering its various services to those who need to take their mind off the flood – including use of their exercise equipment, studios and gymnasiums, and even showers and free towels. There’s no need for a membership to enter, only a valid ID.
“As a community organization that's been around for over 60 years in the West Island, it's kind of our role,” said West Island YMCA Director Kathy Dancsecs. “It's part of our mission to help people in need. We're part of a huge community, and we see people suffering, and we want to help in any way that we can.”
The Olympia Arena in Two Mountains has also become a place of refuge for those affected by the flooding, providing food, shelter and someone to talk with.
“They send social workers every single day, sometimes even twice a day, to talk to us and make sure that we're okay, that we're dealing with the situation the best way we can,” said Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac resident Sandy Charlebois, who arrived there with her four-year-old dog, Jack, after police evacuated her home.
“We got the knock on the door, and they said ‘you have half an hour to pick up some stuff that you'll need and get to the arena,’” she said.
Having a support system to share stories is essential, said Dr. Zoe Thomas, who runs a trauma-focused program at the Jewish General Hospital.
She recommends people hold on to a semblance of a daily routine to help get through the crisis.
“So getting adequate sleep, getting adequate nutrition, eating three meals a day at regular times, engaging in all those self-care activities that are enjoyable to people,” she said.