(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

Suspected spill kills hundreds of crayfish, coho in Langley river

A fish kill in the Nicomekl has a biologist concerned for the health of the local ecosystem.

Rams harvest sweet victory in win over Huskers

The Chilliwack team found itself pushed back again and again.

WATCH: Cops for Cancer bring message of hope to Langley school

Young cancer survivors are traveling with the fundraising bike ride.

Langley venue of glass provides bright stage for charity art show

West Fine Arts Show runs Friday to Sunday at South Langley’s Glass House Estate Winery.

Driver of pickup stolen from Langley crashes into car in Abbotsford

No serious injuries in collision on Monday night

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Aldergrove soccer forward enjoys scoring spree

UFV Cascades’ Jhaj named Canada West second star of the week

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by B.C. animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for shelter and local municipal election

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Lower Mainland city calls for slower trains near popular beach

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Most Read