City of Vernon Emergency Social Services (ESS) has registered 667 evacuees from Williams Lake and other areas affected by provincial wildfires.
As of noon Wednesday, all of the evacuees are being billeted by friends, family or people who have offered rooms and/or camping spaces. Two group lodging sites are on standby at the Vernon Curling Rink and the Civic Arena.
Service Canada is onsite at the ESS reception centre from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. for evacuees needing to apply for Employment Insurance (EI), update existing claims, or check on Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security Claims.
The ESS reception centre is located the Dogwood Gym in the Vernon Recreation Centre (3310-37 Avenue) and is operational from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Evacuees arriving after hours can call 250-309-0638. Other support services including RCMP Victim Services, Red Cross Services, Salvation Army and St. John’s Ambulance.
Interested volunteers are asked to email ESSvolunteer@vernon.ca with a completed volunteer form available on the homepage of the city’s website, or pick up a volunteer package at city hall. The City has received an overwhelming number of volunteer applications, so potential volunteers are thanked for their patience as these applications are processed.
Donations for evacuees are being accepted by the Salvation Army House of Hope (3303-32 Avenue, located behind Staples). All donations (including clothing, food and monetary) should be dropped off to this location from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Please specify that the donation is for fire relief when dropping off items to ensure they are directed toward evacuees. Please note that the Salvation Army cannot accept any food items not prepared in a commercial kitchen that has Food Safe designation.