Businesswomen organize donations
Chelsey Mutter - Aug 22, 2023 - Get Involved

A group of Vernon businesswomen are coming together to collect and distribute donation items to wildfire evacuees.

As fires continue to burn throughout the Okanagan, the Vernon area has opened an Emergency Support Services reception centre. As of Sunday afternoon, 840 evacuees have registered with ESS, mainly from the Central Okanagan region.

A group of women knew evacuees would need support and supplies, and figured out a way to get that to them.

Alison Ludditt said people were trying to bring donations to the reception centre, which is when Lisa Gallie posted on social media to bring items to her store, Big Sun. That’s when Ludditt stepped in and volunteered The Room Collection’s warehouse to store items.

Donations are accepted at 907 Kal Lake Rd. by Ludditt, Gallie, Li Fryling and a group of volunteers.

“We already had three or four drop-offs this morning, big boxes of bananas and just gorgeous things,” Ludditt said. “It’s fantastic. I think we’ll have more throughout the day.”

As of Monday morning, the trio had been green lit by ESS to bring donations directly to Kal Tire Place for evacuees to easily access items. They are the only people allowed to do so.

Both ESS and the women are asking people not to bring donations to Kal Tire Place, as the centre does not have the ability to sort through donation items.

All donations must be new as required by ESS, according to the group. People wanting to donate can check The Room Collection or Big Sun Vernon on Insatgram to keep track of what is needed.

They are currently asking for:

  • Toiletries like toothpaste, face wipes and razors
  • Toys for children like colouring books and puzzles, but nothing with wheels
  • Non-perishable food
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Juice and Gatorade
  • New clothes for both kids and adults

Ludditt said they will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today (Tuesday, Aug. 22) to accept donations. Past that, they’ll be open and running for as long as necessary.

“Everything coming in has to be new, so we can’t accept home cooked food. We can’t’ accept used items or anything that needs refrigeration,” Ludditt said.

“The other key thing is do not bring your donations to Kal Tire Place. Bring them to us, 907 Kal Lake Road. No donations will be accepted at Kal Tire Place. We’re the drop-off point and sorting point for everything.”

The group has been working with Richelle Kendall, who’s been collecting and delivering fresh food for firefighters, something Ludditt, Gallie and Fyling will continue to do.

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