If you call British Columbia home, you would have been affected in one way or another. Whether the wind blows to the East or to the West, smoke has affected the air quality from Vancouver Island to cities in our neighbouring province, Alberta. We have been experiencing an unusually warm and dry summer this year. The last time it rained in the Lower Mainland was August 12th with 0.2 mm recorded.
Some of the Facts
Fires have been burning through the BC since April 1st, with the province declaring a state of emergency on July 7th. As we write this blog, there are still about 230 active wildfires, burning across the central and southern Interiors. Residents from communities such as 100 Mile House, Moore Mountain, Williams Lake, Ashcroft, Little Fort, Elephant Hill areas around Princeton, Loon Lake, Dunn Lake, Alexis Creek and Hallamore Lake have been partially or completely evacuated.
To help visualize the area equivalent to that lost, Global News provided this.
— John O’Dowd (@JohnODowdIRL) August 9, 2017
Sadly, it has been reported by the B.C. Wildfire Service that of the 931 fires that started, 364 were human-caused. This is usually the result of carelessness when extinguishing campfires, throwing a cigarette butt from a car, or ATVing through dry grass. So please, please be careful!
Our Fundraising Initiative
Last year, Fine Choice Foods held a Potluck style Luncheon to raise money for the Red Cross Alberta Fire Appeal for Fort McMurray. We raised a total of $2056.90 from our staff and with the company matching the donation dollar for dollar, we sent a cheque off to Red Cross Canada for $4113.80. You can see the smorgasbord here.
We aimed to beat last year’s record with this year’s luncheon on July 31st. Like last year, everyone was encouraged to participate by bringing a dish that they love. Our team participated generously with some bringing multiple dishes! Those who wanted to enjoy the huge smorgasbord donated money in order to savor the vast array of multicultural flavors. At the end of the day, we did beat last year’s record with $2187 raised! Fine Choice Foods matched and topped out our donation to the Red Cross BC Fire Appeal, allowing us to hand a $5000 cheque to Red Cross Canada.
Our Red Cross Canada Visit
While we visited Red Cross Canada’s Burnaby office, we were educated on what the money we raised is used towards. Cots and blankets are purchased for use in shelters and reception centres. Teddy bears are purchased and used to help console children who have lost their toys to the fires. While the cots stay with the Red Cross, the blankets and Teddy bears go home with the evacuees once they are cleared to go home. A full bucket of cleaning supplies is also provided for the evacuees to help with the cleanup of the aftermath. In some more severe situations, financial aid may be required for some of the evacuees. Funds are also required to train volunteers in the field and in the call centres.