(The Postmen/Facebook)

Volunteers collect supplies for evacuees displaced by B.C. wildfires

The Postmen have been delivering donated items to evacuation centres for those hit hardest by fires

Wildfires burning in B.C. have provoked 20 evacuation orders and dozens of alerts. A group of volunteers have mobilized, touching down in some of the communities acting as refuge for thousands of displaced residents.

The Postmen collect items most needed by evacuees from all over B.C., and deliver the supplies to emergency operation centres.

Village of Burns Lake councillor Charlie Rensby is one of the Burns Lake residents helping move donations to people in need, including the men and women tirelessly fighting the fires.

“We often keep coolers full of ice and Gatorade and water, as well as care packages of things like face masks, lip chap, moisturizer lotion to try and help out the firefighters,” he said. “We have people who are packing some of those care kits for the firefighters, we have people who basically organize and also deliver items out to certain people when it’s needed.”

Just last week, Rensby was driving along the fire lines and spotted a volunteer firefighter head-to-toe covered in ash and soot.

“All you could see was his eyes,” he said. “We roll down the window and say ‘hey, do you want some water or Gatorade?’ and we suddenly see this sharp, white smile pop out.”

The group, originally started out of Fort McMurray received an honourable award from Premier John Horgan after last year’s fires displaced more than 65,000 people.

Volunteers helped look after families long after the wildfire craze passed, Rensby said. In one case, a family who lost their home in the fires wasn’t fully settled into their new one until after Winter.

But this year, the group has grown, working as a network with organizing depots in three cities: Prince George, Burns Lake and Quesnel, as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Each location has five to seven volunteers each day, explained Postmen social media director Dave Llewellyn. Those at the depot keep lists of what is needed most and where they need to go.

Llewellyn, who works out of the Quesnel depot, said he started helping with the group after losing everything in a house fire last year. The community was quick to offer a helping hand – and now Llewellyn is wanting to return the favour.

“I’ve not ever been in a wildfire alert situation myself, but I have lots of family that are on alert,” he said. “When I lost my house and everything we owned and of course it was devastating. Just knowing what I went through, I hate to see anybody go through that – the little children and the elderly displaced from their own homes… having someone there helping, that’s what it’s all about.”

Llewellyn said it’s been exceptionally touching to see people show up at the depot with boxes of donations and handmade care kits already put together.

For Rensby, the part that makes it all worth it is seeing what a simple donated item, like a bottle of water, can do for someone who has been dealt such a tough situation.

“You know what, it makes a difference to them, and seeing the fact you are making a difference to people who have been through such hard times – that’s what keeps you going.”

Click here to see the nearest Postmen depot to you.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Charlie Rensby, Burns Lake

Just Posted

Langley affordable housing projects get provincial money

Community Housing Fund money to build 191 homes for families, seniors and people with disabilities

Abbotsford murder victim identified as Jagvir Malhi

Police say killing linked to Lower Mainland gang conflict

Langley driver victorious at California

Fifth win in GT3-class SCCA National Championship Runoffs for Collin Jackson

BC Ferries passengers wait to leave Vancouver Island after Remembrance Day

Traffic aboard BC Ferries slows after Remembrance Day long weekend

One person sent to hospital after incident at Langley gas station

Police observed retrieving what appeared to be an exacto knife

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Kuhnhackl scores 2 odd goals as Isles dump Canucks 5-2

Vancouver drops second game in two nights

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Most Read