A relief fund created by a trio of Abbotsford organizations to help Fraser Valley flood victims has received $1.5 million in donations as of Monday (Dec. 6).
The Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund (ADRF) is now distributing funds to on-the-ground relief agencies.
The fund was established Nov. 17 by the Abbotsford Community Foundation (ACF), the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) and the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV).
Craig Toews, vice-president of external relations at UFV, said businesses have provided nearly two-thirds of the amount raised, but a number of individuals are behind the 3,500 donations received.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generous and compassionate response from people in the Fraser Valley and beyond,” he said.
“It is inspiring to see neighbours helping neighbours and organizations stepping up in this time of incredible need. We also know the recovery will be long and arduous with more help required as the true costs emerge. Together we will help those affected recover and thrive.”
Toews said the ADRF coalition is working with the BC Agriculture Council to ensure relief is provided to growers, farming families, and businesses directly impacted by flooding. Grants will also be made by the ACOC to affected farms and businesses in the coming weeks.
ACF executive director Wendy Neufeld said the community response and support has stretched far beyond the Fraser Valley.
“We’re seeing donations come in from around the globe: Australia, Germany, Italy, Sweden, England – even an inquiry from Taiwan. People see the images and know help is needed,” she said.
Denise Thandi, chair of the community grants committee at ACF, said one of the first recipients is Kids Play Youth Foundation, which has provided non-perishable food and essential-care packages that include warm clothing and toiletries.
The BC Cancer Foundation will receive funding to help patients and their families get to their appointments and treatments despite the floods and aftermath.
Cares Counselling, based in Abbotsford, is another early recipient of funding that will help those experiencing declining mental health in the wake of the disaster.
“Cares Counselling recognizes the impact that these floods have had on mental health. We want to make sure flood survivors and those involved in the rescue and relief efforts can access counselling free of charge as they cope with recovering from this disaster,” said Irene Heinrichs, executive director.
Donations to the ADRF can be made online at abbotsfordcf.org/grants/disaster.
Organization that would like to apply for a funding grant to assist people affected by the flooding can visit abbotsfordcf.org.grants/disaster/apply.