The Salvation Army has been supporting the firefighters and emergency responders battling the three wildfires burning in the Central Okanagan.
One of its biggest tasks is feeding that army.
“We’ve done that through the week at UBC Okanagan (UBCO),” said Darryn Titterington, community ministries coordinator for Kelowna and Lake Country. “We started out the one day at Glenmore and then moved to the UBCO parking lot and used that as the main centre.”
He said firefighters and emergency personnel have been extremely grateful, and in turn, the Salvation Army has been thankful for donations from the community and restaurants throughout the community.
“So we wanted to give a shout-out to them and say ‘thank you,’ and to support those local restaurants that have brought meals every day. They really did step up and provide so much.”
Titterington said many donations came from several events that were cancelled due to the wildfires.
“Prepared meals, sandwiches, wraps, you name it. When the power was cut to many restaurants they wanted to donate to us because their freezers would go out and the food was going to be spoiled.”
He added that supporting the firefighters has been a wonderful opportunity.
“It’s really a blessing. Again, a shout-out to them and their families and to everyone who has donated.”
The Westside Salvation Army, along with the Fernie, Trail, and Nelson Salvation Army units, have been providing support to first responders and evacuees since the McDougall Creek wildfire flared up Thursday (Aug. 17) night.
“We have been serving approximately 500 evacuees per meal at the West Kelowna evacuation center, ensuring everyone receives three hot meals plus snacks, refreshments, hygiene products, and toiletries, and offering spiritual and emotional care for those who ask,” said Capt. Jennifer Henson.
“The outpouring of generosity, compassion, and collaboration from our community has been truly amazing. Our staff and volunteers have been working 12-plus hour days for the last eight days straight. Our local restaurants, caterers, businesses, churches, individuals, service groups, and partner organizations have been so supportive in helping us meet the ever-changing needs of our community at this difficult time.”
The Westside Salvation Army continues to serve meals to the first responders as well, coordinating pick-up and delivery of meals from local restaurants and caterers to three fire halls plus the Westside fire command.
“Please pray for these firefighters who are working hard to keep everyone safe from the wildfire,” added Henson. They show up to work with all their heart, some of them knowing their own homes have burned down, fighting to protect and save someone else’s.”
Donations to wildfire relief can be made on the Salvation Army website.