A convoy will be leaving Hope at 2 p.m. this afternoon, loaded with donations for people who’ve evacuated from the town of Lytton.
The Hope Cascades and Canyon tourism region includes Tourism Chilliwack, Harrison, Hope, Mission, Abbotsford and Langley. Visitor centres in each of those places were open yesterday (July 1) and remain open today (July 2), with staff volunteering time to accepting donations.
A five-tonne truck, two cube trucks and five pickup trucks are being loaded up and they will head to Tuckkwiowhum Village in Boston Bar.
“We were looking for clothing items, essentials like toothbrushes, baby items like wipes and bottles, and mostly things you might not think of, like old cell phone chargers,” said organizer Shannon Jones. “A lot of people left with their phones but they don’t have their chargers to get ahold of their families.
“They’re in desperate need of camping supplies. A lot of Lytton residents are outdoors right now, on cots, so we’re looking for tents and sleeping bags, and we’ve had a lot of people who’ve gone out to buy brand new sleeping bags and folding chairs to donate.”
Jones said a lot of local businesses bought gift cards for grocery stores, pharmacies and kids clothing stores.
The logistics of pulling all of this together in a short amount of time have been challenging, but Jones said it has been so rewarding seeing members from all of the Fraser Valley tourism offices rally around people in need.
“The last 16 months have been very difficult for the tourism industry as a whole, and we have received so much support province wide,” she said. “So when there was an opportunity for us to pay it forward, everyone jumped on board immediately and asked, ‘What can we do?’
“The Fraser Valley group is such an amazing group of people that didn’t even think twice.”
Donations are being collected at the Chilliwack and Hope visitor centres today and Jones said the Hope centre will continue to accept donations daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. up until July 8.
Anything that doesn’t go to Tuckkwiowhum Village today will be sent on a future convoy.
“We had a lady call in to say, ‘I don’t have things to donate and I don’t have money, but I have gas in my tank and I can drive something somewhere for someone,” Jones said. “That shows the care and support people are showing for people they’ve never met before, and that’s pretty amazing.
“It’s a terrible thing that’s happened to these people and we just want to help in any way that we can.”
See below for a list of suggested donations.
– Cardboard boxes for transport
– New/unused baby items, such as: bottles, diapers, wipes, etc.
– New/unused bedding, such as: pillows, blankets, sheets, etc.
– Gently used or new clothing items of all sizes
– Gently used or new children’s toys
– New/unused personal hygiene items, such as: sanitizers, soaps, feminine hygiene items, face and body care items, etc.
– Gift certificates to grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential services
– Personal electronics, such as: cell phones, chargers, batteries, computers, laptops, cameras, etc.
– Non-perishable food items, bottled water, juice boxes
– Camping supplies, such as: tents, sleeping bags, folding chairs, etc.
– Pet supplies, such as: food, leashes, collars, kennels/cages, etc.
If you are donating a large amount of items, please package the items in boxes rather than bags if possible.