The City of Merritt has stood as the hub for evacuees since the Lytton wildfire torn through the village back in June.
Welcoming evacuees from all over the interior, Merritt residents have supported those fleeing wildfires for weeks, however, now they face an evacuation of their own.
On Sunday, the City of Merritt issued an evacuation alert to more than 7,000 residents due to the Lytton wildfire raging at an estimated 56,329 hectares in size.
This is the same fire the swept through the Village of Lytton destroying about 95 per cent of the structures in the community.
With the evacuation alert issues, the Nicola Valley Food Bank in Merritt stepped up to the plate for the community, providing essential items including food, clothing, hygiene products and toys for those who have been displaced, have lost their housing and belongings, and who are suffering from physical or mental health trauma.
Derlanda Hewton, the food bank’s general manager said the food bank was supported by the United for BC Wildfire Recovery Fund which helps to provide extra financial relief.
“When the wildfires started we were approached by some donors who were looking for a place to drop off donations. We had to do something, so we contacted the Elks of Canada and the rest is history,” said Hewton. “They provided us with Elks Hall to use as a distribution centre. Over a month later, we’re still able to provide this service.”
United for BC Wildfire Recovery Fund assists the food bank purchase products such as medication and specialty food items for dietary needs.
“It’s not in our budget to purchase these products, so this extra funding will allow us to be able to do it for the evacuees,” explained Hewton.
Merritt residents accommodated those who had to leave their homes behind, but this week, other communities have to step up for Merritt as it faces its own evacuation alert.
United Ways across B.C. previously raised more than $170,000 to support the recovery and rebuilding of those affected by the 2017 provincial state of emergency.
To contribute to the United for BC Wildfire Recovery Fund and provide long-term help for wildfire relief, visit: https://donate.uwbc.ca/.