Advertisement

Lower Sackville, N.S. church dishes out free meals to help ease wildfire impacts

Click to play video: 'Halifax church winds down pop-up comfort centre for wildfire residents'
Halifax church winds down pop-up comfort centre for wildfire residents
A Halifax church is winding down its pop-up comfort centre for residents impacted by the wildfires around Halifax. As Skye Bryden-Blom reports, the comfort centre launched last week to help meet the needs of Black communities within the evacuation zone – Jun 6, 2023

A Halifax-area church has been dishing out a warm welcome and hot meals to residents forced out of their homes by wildfire.

It says the community has come together to help in the midst of so much loss. Although the last meal was served on Tuesday, volunteers say the love and support will live on.

“It’s the support of each other that we are depending on,” says Lucasville resident Debra Lucas.

She was one of the more than 16,00o people forced to evacuate their homes due to the Tantallon wildfire, which broke out on May 28. She returned home five days later.

The IWK’s African Nova Scotian Service project manager Cynthia Jordan (left) stands with Lucasville resident Debra Lucas. Skye Bryden-Blom/Global News

Lucas has been getting meals from the pop-up comfort center at Rock Church in Lower Sackville.

Story continues below advertisement

It launched last week to help meet the needs of Black communities within the evacuation zone.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.
For news impacting Canada and around the world, sign up for breaking news alerts delivered directly to you when they happen.

Get breaking National news

For news impacting Canada and around the world, sign up for breaking news alerts delivered directly to you when they happen.
By providing your email address, you have read and agree to Global News' Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

On Tuesday, the final meal was served as the mandatory fire evacuations have been lifted for most, except for those in the “area of significant impact.”

“We understand the needs within the African Nova Scotia community are very different than the needs of the broader, wider community,” says Cynthia Jordan.

But she says all have been welcome to stop by the centre for support. She’s the IWK’s African Nova Scotian Service project manager and has been offering mental health support to children and their families at Rock Church.

Free meals, clothing, toys and other health services have also been available on-site.

Click to play video: 'Canada projected to have worst year of wildfire destruction'
Canada projected to have worst year of wildfire destruction

“We have the gym here,” Jordan adds. “Kids are able to take their mind off what’s going on in their community, the loss, being out of their homes for an extended period of time. The uncertainty around if their homes were still standing.”

Story continues below advertisement

She estimates about 200 people have been showing up each day.

Jordan says now the focus is shifting to delivering support within the impacted communities.

“We’re thinking there’s going to be a need for grocery cards and for people to replenish and restock their refrigerators,” she explains.

Click to play video: 'Evacuees return to Halifax-area neighbourhood following devastating wildfire'
Evacuees return to Halifax-area neighbourhood following devastating wildfire

Jordan says some may have to purchase new appliances due to the mess caused by the extended power outage.

“We’re hoping to have a foot care clinic up in the community centre — when they do go back — to provide foot care, a meal, and just good conversation,” adds Elizabeth Obeng Nkrumah. She’s the wellness navigator with Nova Scotia Sisterhood, a program helping Black women access health care in the community.

As for Lucas, she says she’s grateful her home is still standing, and for all the support received during the many moments of uncertainty.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s an eerie feeling sometimes going back, you don’t know what to expect,” she says. “But we were good, we were all good.”

Sponsored content

AdChoices