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Financial help is what’s needed for B.C. wildfire evacuees

Emergency officials appeal to donors to stop sending goods as centres fill with donations
Merritt Food Bank is filled to the brim with donations of all sorts. Emergency officials are asking for financial gifts instead to help evacuees of B.C.’s wildfires. (City of Merritt Facebook)

For those wanting to help victims of B.C.’s wildfires, emergency officials want you to know that cash is best.

“Please, no more food or supplies at this time,” the City of Merritt said on social media Sunday, along with a photograph of an overwhelmed food bank.

They said the mountain of items on hand is a result of the “phenomenal generosity for Lytton evacuees and others.”

But financial gifts are what could really be useful right now as emergency officials and volunteers aim to help evacuees.

Pader Brach of Emergency Management BC said everyone who has stepped up to help has made a difference in victims lives, but now it’s time to pivot from sending material goods to sending financial help.

“I’d like to discourage everyone from donating materials items,” he said in a teleconference held Sunday. The are tough to store, and the items donated don’t always meet the needs of those impacted in the disaster.

He said those wanting to donate to organizations that they work with can choose from United Way, Food Banks BC and the Canadian Red Cross.

“We want your help, and at this time a monetary donation is the best way to help.”

Elysia Demspey from the Canadian Red Cross said the same.

“The best way to support … is really through financial donations,” she said.

Countless donation efforts were launched immediately after the Lytton fire, with convoys of transport trucks being filled with donations of everything from brand new baby supplies to used clothing, along with food and water for evacuees. But many evacuees have nowhere to store items that are donated, or have to move from place to place with items in garbage bags.

Several trucks were sent from the Fraser Valley, and have gone to various emergency centres and First Nations community halls.

To donate to United Way, visit United Way’s website.

To donate to Canadian Red Cross’ British Columbia Fires Appeal at or by calling 1-800-418-1111.

To donate to Food Banks BC, visit

READ MORE: Donations being collected throughout weekend in Chilliwack for B.C. wildfire evacuees


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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