(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

Make-A-Wish BC grants Langley girl’s wish

Mae Ten Haaf battled a brain tumour much of her young life, and recently returned from Disney World.

Mark Warawa won’t run in the next election

Langley MP issues a statement about his impending retirement from politics.

LETTER: Langley resident says a cancer plague is building

A Langley City man believes a poor diet and unhealed emotions are part of his cancer journey.

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram named WHL On the Run Player of the Week

Registered three goals and three assists in a pair of victories for Langley-based team

‘Diamond’ for Aldergrove rock fans

Fraser Valley Rock and Gem Club marks 60 years in Aldergrove

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of Brunette overpass

Dash cam footage shows a vehicle speeding across a Lower Mainland overpass

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

New orca calf in Salish Sea ‘healthy and active’

Birth cause for celebration but things still dire genetically, expert says

Good Samaritan rescues cat found in heaps of garbage at B.C. landfill

The cat was abandoned and left to die at the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill, the BC SPCA says

Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna home to Canada’s most expensive rentals: report

According to PadMapper, units in larger B.C. cities cost $1,300 to more than $3,000

Most Read