City of Vernon Emergency Social Services (ESS) has registered 248 evacuees from Williams Lake and other areas affected by provincial wildfires.
At this time, all of the evacuees are being billeted by friends or family in the area. Two group lodging sites have been established at the Vernon Curling Rink and the Civic Arena for evacuees needing accommodation.
The ESS reception centre has been relocated to the Dogwood Gym in the Vernon Recreation Centre, 3310-37 Ave. Red Cross Services are onsite to register evacuees. Evacuees can also register with the Red Cross, 1-800-863-6582.
Donations for evacuees are being accepted by the Salvation Army House of Hope, 3303-32 Ave., located behind Staples. All donations should be dropped off to this location from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gift cards for groceries, gas or dining out are greatly appreciated. Please specify that the donation is for fire relief when dropping off items to ensure they are directed toward evacuees. The Salvation Army cannot accept any food items not prepared in a commercial kitchen that has Food Safe designation.
The City has received a large number of offers to volunteer from Vernon residents.
“We have had a tremendous response from people wanting to help,” said Luana Kaleikini, the Emergency Program & ESS Coordinator with the City of Vernon. “From the moment we put out a call asking for help, we’ve had people show up to begin setting up cots in group lodging or offer experienced help in providing support to people under great stress from force evacuations. I’m overwhelmed at the generosity of this community.”
Interested volunteers are asked to email ESSvolunteer@vernon.ca with a completed volunteer form available on the City’s website, or pick up a volunteer package at City Hall.
Funding for evacuee support is provided by the Province of B.C.