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FEATURE: Operation Edmonton Helps Houston

Kelly Talbot, wife of Oilers netminder Cam, initiated Operation Edmonton Helps Houston in an effort to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

Kelly Talbot couldn't idle as she watched and read about the devastation unfolding in Houston, Texas due to Hurricane Harvey. 

Kelly's family hails from Hurst - near the Dallas-Fort Worth region - and the mother of two felt the need to help the families affected by the natural disaster.

"My family is down there," Kelly said, standing next to husband Cam in the Oilers Hall of Fame Room on Friday. "Luckily, they're not in the Houston area. It's such a heartfelt thing seeing my state like that.

"I would feel like that for any state but my sister does have her in-laws in there and it's something that's super near and dear to my heart."

Video: COMMUNITY | Talbot Hurricane Relief

With a surplus of unopened baby formula, unneeded by Talbot Twins Landon and Sloane, Kelly decided she would donate the excess formula to Houston. Although, finding drop-off locations in Edmonton for Hurricane Harvey relief items was hard to come by, so Kelly was suggested an idea to try and fill an 18-wheeler with baby formula instead of the initial 10 tins she wanted to donate. 

At first, it seemed impossible.

"I'm like, 'There's no way I'm going to be able to do that,'" said Kelly.

Rather than take the task on completely solo, Kelly decided to see if Edmonton - the city the Talbot clan now calls home year-round - and its community would be willing to assist in achieving the lofty assignment.

"I sent out a simple tweet and people were just messaging me like, 'I want to be involved, I want to be a drop-off location,' and I was just overwhelmed."

Tweet from @kellytrain: Hey everyone!! We have TWO new locations!!Thanks to the @EdmontonOilers Community Foundation for getting involved too! #EdmontonHelpsHouston pic.twitter.com/8Evf8GGnoC

The quick response from Edmontonians prompted the beginning of Operation Edmonton Helps Houston, which Kelly coined herself. The initiative will see a range of Edmonton businesses, restaurants and venues become drop-off locations, accepting essentials such as baby formula, diapers and blankets, to shampoos, toothbrushes, soaps and deodorants. The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has also come on board, establishing a drop-off location at the Oilers Entertainment Group reception in Rogers Place on 104 Ave.

Given all the support Kelly has received in such a short time, there's a sense that filling the 18-wheeler may not be as dubious as first imagined.

"Maybe now I can," said Kelly, her voice trembling as she continued. "When I look at it, if I can help one person or one family, I'm happy. I look at all the people there and they need everything."

Fighting away the tears, Kelly noted she was somewhat surprised to see the rapid response from Edmontonians.

"Some people don't even have family in Texas or Houston, or have even gone to the (United) States. So, it's amazing to me to see everyone say, 'Yes, I want to do it,' and didn't even think twice."

Tweet from @kellytrain: Operation Edmonton Helps Houston cut off date will be September 7! When getting back to school supplies grab some donation goods! pic.twitter.com/Z3V0TWbiQu

Kelly went as far to say that people in Texas are overjoyed to hear the city would provide unwavering assistance, adding, "I think they're surprised by this response and how fast it all happened. They're all super excited and amazed at what Edmonton is doing for Texas."

Typically, Kelly is the one supporting Cam's on-ice career but now he is doing what he can to help his wife, including re-tweeting her informative tweets in order for more people to gain awareness of Operation.

"She did this within three or four hours," said Cam. "It just snowballed from there and you can see the response that this community has given her. It's just overwhelming to see the support that people are giving not only her but the families down in Houston so I'm extremely proud of everything that she's been able to do."

Drop-off locations are listed on Kelly's Twitter and will continue to be updated as new ones emerge. The deadline for donations will be September 7.

"This is what we need right now," said Kelly. "No matter for politics, race or gender, everyone is coming together to help these people. 

"We need this right now."

WHAT: 

  • Baby formula

  • Diapers and pull-ups

  • Wipes

  • Baby blankets

  • Hygiene products

  • Baby food

  • Shampoo

  • Soap

  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Chap stick

  • Wet ones

  • Feminine products

  • Pain relievers

  • Gallon zip lock bags

  • Deodorant

  • Bandaids, Neosporin

WHERE:

  • EOCF Rogers Place reception (Mon-Fri, 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM)

  • Have Mercy Southern Table & Bar

  • Little Brick

  • District Cafe

  • CISN, Fresh and CHED Radio stations

  • Jilly's Home & Lifestyle

  • WOW! Factor Desserts

  • Audi Edmonton North

  • Sonia's Runway

  • Oodle Noodle downtown location

  • Body by Bennett

Donations will be accepted until September 7, 2017.

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