Volunteers brave summer heat to provide pet supplies to evacuees in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Volunteers brave summer heat to provide pet supplies to evacuees in Kamloops

BC SPCA volunteers Jennifer Gore (left) and Brian Bremner in their outdoor shop in front of McArthur Island Sports Center providing wildfire evacuees with pet supplies.
July 27, 2021 - 8:00 PM

Volunteers in Kamloops are set up under a shade tent, amidst high temperatures and falling ash, to provide wildfire evacuees with much needed pet supplies for almost a month.

B.C. SPCA volunteers Jennifer Gore and Brian Bremner set up a booth in front of the McArthur Island Sports Center when Lytton Creek wildfire evacuees first started arriving on June 30. The volunteers have been there ever since, seven days per week, handing out pet supplies that have been donated by the public to Kamloops B.C. SPCA.

The two are keeping hydrated and cooling off in the sports complex several times during a shift. They are inspired to help the people they are connecting with every day.

"So many people lost their homes in Lytton," Gore said. "Some are scared, some are devastated and some are hopeful. We have talked to a few who are double evacuees, having being moved twice in a short period of time. We are happy to help."

The booth is currently open between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., a schedule that has been changing according to needs. 

"When the Lytton evacuees arrived we were working eight hour shifts," Gore said. "At times we were showing up to bring supplies to evacuees arriving in the middle of the night. We have a team of volunteers supporting us at several similar locations."

The cost of the items is by donation. Gore says the majority of the donated items have been useful and in great condition. The items in most demand have been cat toys, leashes and harnesses. She has a stuffed rhinoceros with a harness on it to show people how they fit and how tight they should be.

"Displaced cats cannot simply be let outside to run around, so harnesses and leashes have been in big demand," she explained. "Some people like to be shown how to properly put one on a pet. There has been a demand for cat toys and pet food, poop bags and a lot of crates. The only items we received that didn't fit our needs were dog sweaters and dog coats, and a set of stuffed antlers to put on a dog."

Gore says the supplies are meeting the current needs. Gift cards and money are the most sought after donations as the money can be put toward vet care, gas for volunteers and more specific pet items.

Gore and Bremner plan to continue volunteering for as long as needed, for as many hours as needed.

If you have pet items in good condition you wish to pass on, please donate them to BC SPCA Kamloops pet food bank.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 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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