Sharon Vance drops off donations to the Free Press office on Tuesday morning. Brendan Kyle Jure photos.

Donation drive for wildfire affected Telegraph Creek

There are drop-off locations in several Northwest cities

South Cariboo is putting together a donation run to Telegraph Creek, where the Alkali Lake fire has grown to 2,800 hectares. The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine ordered the evacuation of the area and 27 structures have already been lost as of Tuesday, Aug. 7.

“I’m really hoping people are going to be feeling that they’re going to give back because we received so much help [during 2017 wildfires]. We had Fort McMurray bringing supplies to us and I’m hoping to help this small community that’s suffering right now and they’re panicked just like we were,” said Amy Tinson, the organizer of the drive. “I’m hoping people will be able to relate to that.”

Tinson decided to start the drive on the night of Aug. 5, before putting together a Facebook page on Aug. 6.

So far, she has found a number of drop off spots for donations in the different locations. A full list of locations in Terrace, Kitimat, Prince George, 100 Mile House, Smithers, Whitehorse and Hazelton can be found on the Telegraph Creek Donation Drive Facebook page.

Tinson came up with the idea after her own experiences during the 2017 Wildfires in the South Cariboo.

Her family, consisting of her husband and five kids were evacuated and when they came back, they found their home had significant water damage from sprinklers.

“The basement had flooded, so there was black mould and everything,” she recalled. “I had been strong the whole time. My kids had never seen me cry or nothing and when our house was damaged I had to go down to Emergency Services at the arena. That was the first time I cried because I have five kids – where am I going to stay?”

Included in the family of seven was a six-week-old baby.

The family was put up in a hotel for a night before her insurance company set her up for a month at the Spruce Hill Resort until her home was repaired and it was liveable enough. Her children had to sleep on mattresses on the kitchen floor.

One of the other factors in her deciding to put together this drive is her husband. He grew up in Glenora, a small community just 18 kilometres southwest of Telegraph Creek. His father still lives there and one of the aforementioned homes lost to the fire belonged to some childhood friends.

As of 3 p.m. on Aug. 6, Tinson has only received $70 through e-transfer but hopes to gather enough donations, especially non-perishable foods, diapers and clothing to make a run up to Telegraph Creek over the weekend.

She only plans on driving to Prince George because she has found someone else there who can go further. She is also looking for an enclosed trailer if someone is willing to lend her one.


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Corina Holzapfel brought in donations to the Free Press for Telegraph Creek.

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