Help pours in for wildfire evacuees in Kamloops

By Jill Sperling
July 11, 2017 - 5:00pm Updated: July 11, 2017 - 6:48pm

KAMLOOPS — With more than 14,000 displaces so far, local agencies have the enormous task of providing the basic necessities to those forced from their homes by the rapidly growing fires. 

There are a number of ways people can help. 

WATCH: Full report by Jill Sperling

The Canadian Red Cross is accepting monetary donations only, but the Kamloops Food Bank is accepting food and hygiene items, and pet food and supplies can be donated to Four Paws Food Bank. 

Forced to leave their homes in a rush, many of the B.C. wildfire evacuees are now depending on the kindness of strangers. 

"There's always something when you pack up in a rush that you forget," said Shane Jordaan, who was evacuated from 100 Mile Saturday, "and you think, 'I should have got this, or I should have got that.' You would think that with an alert and then an order coming through that you would have enough time, but the basic stuff you forget." 

Jordaan and his family did, however, remember their pets and farm animals. 

"There's a stable (that's taken) our horse, another ranch has taken our chickens, a lady has taken our absolute crazy wildcat, so it's been good."

The dog that remains with the family has received food through Four Paws Food Bank. 

Coordinator Bonnie McBride says that is just one of the services the nonprofit organization provides. 

"We take care of their pets while they're here, then we load them up with any of the supplies that they haven't brought with them that they need," McBride said. 

"We're providing foster homes for pets if people aren't able to take them with them from here on out, and sometimes we're actually fostering people with their pets because they're not in a position to leave them behind, they're just not ready to do that."

While pets are being cared for at the Evacuation Reception Centre at TRU, humans will find what they need at the Kamloops Food Bank. 

"We are open for donations between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day, so please come on down," said Executive Director Bernadette Siracky. "You don't need to call us. If you do, that would be really helpful. We have a set up so that we are storing the items that are being donated to the evacuees separately from what we give our clients on site here." 

Numerous donations have allowed the food bank to stock its shelves with food items, diapers, toilet paper, and other hygiene items.

Evacuees are encouraged to swing by to pick up the items they need. 

"Really, anytime. If you come between 12 p.m and 4 p.m. that would be ideal for us as we're still serving our clients in the morning," Siracky said. "We have a separate process for them. We're asking them to bring their evacuation paper, their ID, and then we will fill them up with whatever they need."

If you would like to donate or help the victims of the wildfires, the TNRD has now created two Facebook pages and is asking everyone to use these pages instead of showing up at the Emergency Reception Centre with donations.

More information is available here.

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