How the Okanagan is coming together in the face of disaster | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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How the Okanagan is coming together in the face of disaster

Big White housed 1800 evacuees and provided a free pancake breakfast to 500 people escaping the wildfires.
Image Credit: Michael J Ballingall

In the wake of the destruction of the Central Okanagan wildfires, the Okanagan community has banded together to help those in need.

We've rounded up just a few of the amazing shows of support we've seen over the last few days. Got something the community should know about? Send us an email at news@infonews.ca.

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In Vernon, My Big Fat Greek Food Truck served over 300 free meals to evacuees over the weekend, Aug. 19-20.

TJ Colovos, owner of the business, said that “there were line-ups down the road” when they arrived at Kal Tire Place to serve free, authentic Greek food.

He said the experience was “quite overwhelming” yet ultimately worth it for the positive response.

“If you can make someone who is crying have a small smile for a couple of minutes, it makes you feel good inside for being able to help,” he said.

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Big White Ski Mountain opened its doors to 18,000 evacuees who slept at the resort this weekend, Aug 19-20.

The ski mountain also provided a free pancake breakfast on Sunday, Aug 20, and raised $1,000 for a local Kelowna charity, Mamas for Mamas.

Today, Aug 21, the resort is opening its kids centre for free to allow evacuated children to have a place to play and relax.

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Volunteers at the Ukrainian Canadian Volunteer Association alongside the Bravery Foundation are coordinating the “Ukrainian Work Bees” movement, to help with property clean-up for the McDougall Creek Wildfire, Clifton/McKinley Fire and the Lake Country Wildfires.

“We greatly appreciate all the support Ukrainian people get from the Canadian citizens. It is our time to pay back for all the great support we have received and continue to receive. That's what community is all about. When one gets in trouble, the others get together to help,” said Svitlana Shkyn of the Ukrainian Canadian Volunteer Association.

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Pita Pit and Freshslice have been giving away free food to front line workers and those affected by the fire from their 5 different Kelowna locations in Downtown, Rutland, Orchard Park Mall and Innovation Drive.

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The Hatching Post were also offering free hotdogs and discounted beer for evacuees from their location on Boucherie road in West Kelowna.

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The Vernon Sikh community have opened their temple doors to accommodate evacuees in search of food and shelter. 

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The Central Okanagan Foundation have also established the 2023 Wildfire Response Fund for local people to be able to help their community and provide support for those impacted by the disaster.

Cheryl Miller, at the Central Okanagan Foundation, said in press release on Aug 18 that “the 2023 Wildfire Response Fund is a channel through which the compassion and generosity of our community can make a tangible difference. Every contribution, no matter the size, will play a pivotal role in helping our fellow neighbors rebuild their well-being."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Georgina Whitehouse or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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