North Shuswap residents Kris Jensen, Debbie Seymour, Doug Easterbrook, Ted Danyluk, Bill Holtby and Jay Simpson collaborated to create a new not-for-profit society with a goal of placing assistance into the hands of those left in dire straights due to the August Wildfire.
As background, the Shuswap Community Foundation has received a significant amount of money in donations to help our community. Other community organizations also received donations in various sizes. Everyone is trying to do the right thing with these donations with the key question:
How do you get the needed money into the needed hands, and make sure that it does what it’s supposed to do?
The answer was to form the North Shuswap Disaster Relief Society. It will assist the Shuswap Community Foundation and others deliver a significant amount raised in local contributions to the residents of North Shuswap most in need, in a timely manner, with local knowledge being an important part of the efforts. It is a direct outcome of discussions that began with Kris Jensen, an SCF board member, and Roger Parenteau, SCF Executive Director.
Kris, Ted, Debbie, Doug, Jay and Bill have been meeting over the last month to determine the best way to organize and communicate with the community to get the message out that the Society is there to help.
Our first goal is is to find those who have needs that are not yet met. Ideally, they are local residents who have lost their home, or have some other fire related loss which they are not able to financially cover and are not insured for. After applicants complete a needs assessment, priorities will go to those who need accommodation through the winter, those that need power/water/septic, need to repair portions of their home to make it winter friendly. We may also look at those who have lost the ability to make money because they have lost the tools of trade or shelters for their business activities. We do not know yet what all ‘needs’ are, but we do have some ideas where to start, thanks to residents that have been sharing their devastating stories.
Jay Simpson is working closely with the Society to provide a connection to the local and provincial government, to reduce duplication in what the CSRD may be doing and to help with red tape situations. Winter is coming and we really need to make sure our local permanent residents are warm, safe and secure for this coming season. We can’t afford to wait.