As Chilliwack resident Gordon Vanlaerhoven watched the news about the fire devastation in Fort McMurray, he knew he had to do something.

And being a truck driver, he knew exactly what would help the most: Driving emergency supplies to those who have lost everything.

“I just said ‘I feel like going for a drive, what truck am I taking?’” he told CTV Vancouver.

With trucks donated by local companies, and a plea for donations on the Facebook group Chilliwack for Fort Mac, residents came out in droves to the Cottonwood Mall parking lot to donate items to help fill the big rigs.

Rachel Zylstra said her young children wanted to use the money from their paper routes to buy items for people affected by the devastating fires. The youngsters carried packages of diapers and wipes to the trucks.

“I think it’s great they’re helping. We have to help each other when these things happen,” she said.

Town residents filled up grocery carts all mall stores with canned goods, towels, snacks and diapers and wheeled them into the parking lot. FirstMate Pet Foods donated seven pallets of pet food. Volunteers helped wrap and pack pallet of water bottles, toiletries, clothing and canned goods throughout the day Friday.

Cash donations were used to buy even more items, and pay for the fuel for the long journey.

“I bought 100 backpacks from Walmart a little while ago so everyone is pitching in. I can’t just list off 5 people that have given cash because there’s been hundreds,” said Vanlaerhoven.

In total, four semi-trucks were loaded with items destined for fire victims.

Vanlaerhoven planned to leave town at 5 p.m. to Lac La Biche, Alberta, to distribute the goods at an emergency hub.

Visit the Chilliwack for Fort Mac Facebook page for information on how to donate items.