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Two B.C. companies help Interior flood victims with more than $600K in new clothes

Boxes of new clothes were bound for flood-ravaged Princeton, B.C., on Thursday. Here, members of the Rotary Club of Golden Ears Sunrise in Maple Ridge are seen loading them for transport. Submitted

Flood victims in Interior communities are getting a massive helping hand from two B.C. companies.

Stormtech Performance Apparel is donating thousands of new clothes valued at $600,000 to disaster-impacted communities, while Mountain Equipment Co-op also donated clothing valued at around $36,000.

On Thursday, approximately 1,500 pieces of clothing were expected to arrive in Princeton, around 2 p.m., while donations to Merritt are expected later this month.

Read more: Princeton, B.C. battling the weather amid flood cleanup

In an email to Global News, Stormtech said it was donating more than 9,700 pieces of outerwear and accessories.

“Thousands of families have been displaced without their possessions and require immediate assistance,” said Blake Annable, Stormtech president and CEO.

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“As a company who calls B.C. home, we are committed to mobilize and leverage our available resources to help the affected communities.”

Making this all possible was the Rotary Club of Golden Ears Sunrise in Maple Ridge, which said donations to Lillooet and fire-destroyed Lytton are also being discussed.

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Club member Suzanne Bebbington said member Gavin Herholdt had contacts with Stormtech and MEC and worked very hard with the companies to put the donations together,

“And they offered an immense amount of brand-new clothing and jackets through both of their companies,” said Bebbington. “And they asked us if we would be open to having these available to donate to communities that need flood and disaster relief.

A photo showing boxes of new clothing being loaded into a van that was bound for Princeton, B.C., on Thursday. Submitted

“The sheer size of this donation left me speechless with gratitude,” said Herholdt. “It is wonderful to collaborate with Stormtech in support of this desperate need.”

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Princeton and Merritt were both ravaged by flooding in November, and repair efforts continue.

Bebbington said it was amazing how quickly Stormtech and MEC jumped on board, stating, “they saw the need and needed a way to get it out. We just luckily became that source to transport these items to the Interior.”

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The Rotary Club said it’s in contact with other Interior communities that have been affected by flooding and wildfires, and that deliveries will be made to those communities later this month.

Asked about the sheer volume that’s being donated, Bebbington said, “When our president announced it at our meeting a couple of weeks ago, I think all of our jaws hit the floor. We were just amazed at the amount of product that they were willing to provide to these communities.

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“We’re just glad to be there to create the logistics for it.”

Urma Mollema, club president, said Golden Ears members wanted to help in any way they could.

After the donations were confirmed, the club began reaching out and eventually came in contact with a Princeton resident who said the community needed help.

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From there, things moved quickly, “but our job’s not done,” said Mollema, who thanked everybody involved.

“The first 1,000-plus items are being transported today. We have now received seven-and-a-half thousand other items that we will have to find homes for. It’s not that easy to distribute these items.

“It’s phenomenal to know that, right before Christmas, these people will have one little shed of light, and that’s a much-needed new jacket, a hoodie or gloves or whatever they need.

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“There’s never a good time for a bad thing to happen, but good things come out of bad things. And that’s one thing that we are extremely happy about it.”

Global News has reached out to MEC.

To contact the Rotary Club of Golden Ears Sunrise, contact them by email at goldenearsrotary@gmail.com

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