Earlier this month, America remembered all those who perished in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Whether heroic first responders who rushed into the smoke and rubble, the brave passengers on hijacked planes, or the innocent World Trade Center and Pentagon workers, each deserves honor.
But other unsung heroes you may have heard of live in a small town in the far reaches of eastern Canada.
The small Canadian town of Gander—on the island of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic Ocean—took in nearly 7,000 people when the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington forced 38 planes to land there. The town’s population nearly literally doubled overnight.
USA Today described the events this way:
To say this town of 10,000 people and its surrounding communities welcomed the passengers and crew from nearly 100 countries with open arms is an understatement. The town all but shut down for the “plane people”…
Volunteers readied makeshift shelters — every school, gym, community center, church and camp, any place that could fit a planeload of people. Gander’s 500 hotel rooms were reserved for pilots and flight crews.
Bus drivers in the middle of a nasty strike laid down picket signs. Donations of toiletries, clothes, toys, towels, toothbrushes, pillows, blankets and bedding piled up. Gander residents began cooking — a lot. Grocery store shelves went bare. The Walmart ran out of nearly everything — underwear was a particularly hot commodity — and the local hockey rink transformed into the world’s largest refrigerator.
“What we consider the most simple thing in life is to help people,” says Claude Elliott, who served as mayor of Gander for 21 years.
The mayor’s message is the same one your donors have for you: although it may be a simple thing, they want to help people. Especially during a worldwide pandemic.
Your donors believe in you. They believe in the people you serve. They believe in your mission.
Why not give them the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives?
Focus on Mission. Engage Your Donors. Move Forward Boldly.