A collapsed section of bridge destroyed by severe flooding is seen in Merritt, B.C., in an aerial view from a Canadian Forces reconnaissance flight on Nov. 22. Photo: The Canadian Press/Darryl Dick

A collapsed section of bridge destroyed by severe flooding is seen in Merritt, B.C., in an aerial view from a Canadian Forces reconnaissance flight on Nov. 22. Photo: The Canadian Press/Darryl Dick

United for BC flood response fund makes an impact

As winter sets in, United Way anticipates long-term needs for neighbours in crisis

by UNITED WAY BC

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Citizens around the world have been moved to support their British Columbian neighbours in need after the province experienced unprecedented flooding last month.

Individuals, companies and organizations demonstrated their commitment to strengthening vital connections by donating over $2 million to the United for BC Flood Response Fund.

As a result of that generosity, United Way British Columbia — working with communities in BC’s Interior, Lower Mainland, Central and Northern Vancouver Island — is on the ground, working on a variety of programs and essential services that will be critical as B.C. residents recover physically and emotionally after the flood devastation.

Here are some examples of how the United for BC Flood Response fund is supporting people across the province:

Remote and Indigenous communities affected by floods are receiving food, despite compromised transportation routes and damaged farmland. Through partnership with SPUD online grocers and the Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society, 1,000 pounds of food have been delivered to Seabird Island First Nation in Agassiz, the Agassiz Food Bank, and Yarrow flood victims, with more to come.

Over 70,000 tampons, pads, and other essential menstrual products have been delivered to communities severely impacted by the floods. That includes evacuation centers in the Fraser Valley, Agassiz, Hope, and Merritt.

ICBC claim centres and driver licensing offices collected non-perishable food items and essential goods for United Way Flood Response.

DoorDash is donating $25,000 in gift cards going to Food Hubs for use in support of flood response efforts.

Families in crisis are receiving critical relief through partnership with Mamas for Mamas such as emotional support, help navigating resources, and gift cards for groceries and stores near hotels.

“So many families faced their worst nightmare in this last month,” says Celena Arthur, director of community engagement and funding development, Mamas for Mamas. “We helped a single dad and his 13-year-old after being helicoptered out from their community that was between two mud slides, a mother and her two teenage sons who were evacuated from their basement suite, and a mom of two small boys who didn’t have a vehicle and whose husband can’t get to work due to floods. We are thankful to United Way for establishing the United for BC Flood Response Fund because it’s giving us hope for the future — and it’s also giving us hope that we can do some celebrating during the holidays despite being overwhelmed by devastation. This is what community is all about.”

To make sure no neighbours get left behind this holiday season, United Way is working with organizations like Mamas for Mamas who are collecting the following items to fill Christmas hampers: gift cards to purchase the most needed items (particularly for teens), diapers and wipes, new clothing and shoes, warm socks, hats and gloves, self-care items (shampoo, soaps, candles), non-perishable food that has not expired (snacks are encouraged), and brand new unused, unwrapped toys.

Donations will be accepted at the Mamas for Mamas office in Richmond.

The United for BC Flood Response Fund is continuing to bring community spirit to the forefront — especially a time when many neighbours impacted by floods are wondering what the holidays will bring. The fund will support those who are displaced or have lost housing, belongings and/or employment, suffered physical or mental health trauma, and emerging needs.

The power of many is helping those affected by B.C. flooding, but neighbours still need help. To contribute to the United for BC Flood Response Fund, visit: donate.uwbc.ca/flood.

United Way BC is working with communities in B.C.’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Central and Northern Vancouver Island.

United Way supports healthy, caring and inclusive communities by strengthening vital connections that support people in need. Representing the six regions of Central and Northern Vancouver Island, East Kootenay, Lower Mainland, Southern Interior, Thompson Nicola Cariboo, and Trail and District, our organization serves a population of more than 4 million people, with a focus on kids and youth, seniors, poverty, mental health and food security.



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B.C. Floods 2021British ColumbiaUnited Way