(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

It’s here: tackling opioid addiction in Ladysmith

Nine overdose deaths in two years “pretty alarming considering this is a small town”

Spending support helps keep Chemainus Rotary auction going strong

Event a labour of love for club members to generate funds for the community

Robert Barron column: Break-ins violate more than your property

My home has been broken into twice in the decade that I have lived there.

Switchbacks ease Holland Creek trail climb

New path section near the footbridge makes the link to Heart Lake more accessible

Nelson finds her calling as Chemainus’ community paramedic

Switching careers from instrument repair music to her ears

UPDATE: Four victims identified in deadly Penticton shooting spree

John Brittain, 68, faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Answers for your Ladysmith home-buying questions

VIREB Real Estate Consumer Conference has lots of information for buyers and sellers

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Hwang’s first MLS goal lifts Whitecaps to 1-0 win over LAFC

Vancouver picks up first victory of season

Child-proof your windows ahead of warm weather: B.C. expert

Fifteen children were taken to BC Children’s Hospital for falls in 2018

B.C. trucker pleads guilty to lesser charges in fatal Manitoba crash

Gurjant Singh was fined $3,000 and given a one-year driving prohibition.

Study links preschool screen time to behavioural and attention problems

The research looked at more than 2,400 families

Island man guilty of child porn charges, Crown alleges 250,000 images

Psychiatric assessment requested by Crown, sentencing to be set June 4 in Nanaimo court

More than $100,000 raised for family of professional skier who died near Pemberton

Dave Treadway leaves behind his pregnant wife and two young boys

Most Read