B.C. wildfires 2017: How you can help
With thousands of people displaced by wildfires burning across B.C’s interior and Cariboo regions, many are wondering how they can help those in need.
People around B.C. are offering to help in any way they can.
B.C. Wildfire Service and Drive BC both have information lines set up with all the latest information.
For B.C. wildfire info call 1-888-336-7378
For B.C. highway conditions call 1-800-550-4997
To report wildfires call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555.
The Red Cross has opened up its donations page for those wanting to donate to anyone affected by the wildfires. Go to redcross.ca to help.
If you’re looking to help victims of the B.C. wildfires by making a donation, officials are asking you to avoid crowdfunding sites.
LISTEN: Jon McComb talks about how you can help wildfire evacuees
Debbie Sell, information officer with the Thompson Nicola Regional District, says priority one is feeding and housing evacuees.
“So we’re just asking people to hold onto that thought,” she said. “We really appreciate it, but we will communicate something out in the near future to let people know what is needed and where they can go do donate.”
The district has created Facebook pages for volunteers as well as donations and offers of lodging.
In the meantime, Sell says people looking to help should stay away from sites like GoFundMe, which may be well-intentioned, but could also be home to scammers.
“Our focus right now, because of the situation, is just to be evacuating people who need to leave their homes, get them registered, get them some food and lodging, and at this point we’re not organizing any donations, it’s a little bit too early.”
The United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo is coordinating efforts in Kamloops to assist those who have checked in at the evacuation centre.
At this time, they are asking people not to bring donations to the evacuation centre. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) is working with the Canadian Red Cross to coordinate supplies, so they are asking people to stay tuned for information on needs as they arise.
To assist at specific evacuation centres with supplies or to volunteer your time, check out the centres on Emergency Info BC or go directly to the region’s website and follow the links from there.
If any fire evacuee had to leave without medications or pet medications, any pharmacy can help arrange to get a prescription transfer or emergency fill.
London Drugs is also offering help:
London Drugs is also collecting donations at its stores to support evacuees.
Food Banks BC says it is working to ensure evacuees will have access to the food they need.
“Regardless of supplies being in short supply everywhere, we have food banks standing ready to ship food and water wherever it is needed
at a moment’s notice,” Food Banks BC executive director Laura Lansink said.
A map of food banks across the province can be found here.
A group that used to be dedicated to help evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires last year has now been converted to help residents displaced by the B.C. wildfires. Many comments on the page are offering food, shelter, help with animals and ways to connect those who have been displaced.
A Facebook page has also been set up to specifically to help evacuees with livestock. ‘BC’s Emergency Livestock /Animal Evacuation Group was created for evacuees who need help and for those who are able to offer help.
The Desert Park Exhibition Society in Osoyoos is helping horse owner by offering free board for horses affected by the Princeton fire.
If you are an evacuee and have pets, this Facebook page has been set up to help coordinate efforts to find foster homes while people are staying in emergency shelters.
A 100 Mile House Wildfire Evacuee Support Facebook group has more than 660 members, many offering places to stay and sharing information.
For those in the Kamloops area, this Facebook page has been created to pool resources.
The Aggasiz Royal Legion Branch 32 is now open to evacuees and they have parking, including for campers. They are also gathering monetary donations for the Red Cross.
Companies offering help:
A number of companies around B.C. have offered help to those fire evacuees.
Telus says evacuees will have all domestic voice, text and data overages waived until July 21.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says anyone with questions about their home or business insurance can call their insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844‑2ask‑IBC.
On Tuesday, Loblaws announced it would accept cash donations at Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, Extra Foods, Independent, Loblaws CityMarket and Wholesale Club stores. Shoppers Drug Mart customers can also donate their Shoppers Optimum points to support relief efforts. Shoppers Drug Mart said it will match all donated point to a maximum of $25,000.
If you know of any other organizations or are coordinating offers of help yourself, please leave a comment below and let us know.
White Spot restaurants will be holding a fundraiser at all 65 of its locations in B.C. and Alberta on Thursday, July 13. The restaurant will donate $2 from the sale of every burger platter or combo to the Canadian Red Cross.
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