How to help: Fundraisers set up for victims of devastating B.C. storm
The historic and deadly storm that bombarded British Columbia this week has left many worried onlookers from across the country feeling desperate to help – and there's a growing number of ways to do so.
On Wednesday, the Canadian Red Cross launched a donation page to help fund humanitarian assistance to those impacted by the flooding and landslides, which led to mass evacuations and cut off entire communities from the rest of the province.
Donations made through the British Columbia Floods and Extreme Weather Appeal will be reserved for the current crisis, the charitable organization said, with no more than five per cent going toward fundraising costs.
"The devastating flooding in the coastal and Interior regions of B.C. has resulted in thousands of British Columbians being displaced. The Red Cross is committed to helping during this urgent time of need," said Pat Quealey, Canadian Red Cross vice-president for B.C. and Yukon, in a statement.
Canadians can also donate to individual fundraisers through GoFundMe, though they should be wary of fraudulent campaigns designed to exploit public sympathy, the likes of which often emerge after major catastrophes.
GoFundMe has set up a centralized hub for verified fundraisers for B.C. flooding victims, which include campaigns for a number of displaced families and affected businesses.
"GoFundMe has a dedicated Trust & Safety team reviewing all fundraisers related to the tragedy," the company said in an email. "We deploy proprietary technical tools and have multiple processes in place to verify the identity of organizers and the recipient of the fundraiser. Before money is transferred, an individual or organization’s information, including their banking information, must be verified."
Anyone who spots a campaign that appears questionable can report it to GoFundMe to prompt an investigation.
The B.C. SPCA is also collecting donations to support its response to the floods, including emergency boarding services for pets from Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley and Cowichan.
Senior protection officer Eileen Drever told CTV News the SPCA is also co-ordinating with the province's Emergency Support Services to provide pet food, crates and other urgent supplies to evacuees.
"This is just heartbreaking for everybody," Drever said. "We're there to help the animals and the people."
Donations can be made through the B.C. SPCA website. Teck Resources Ltd., a Vancouver-based mining company, has also agreed to match up to $50,000 in donations made to the SPCA on Nov. 17.
Drever said flood victims needing to shelter their animals should contact the organization's call centre, which can direct them further.
In addition, the Canucks for Kids Fund has announced that proceeds from the next three 50/50 raffles – which are being held on Nov. 17, 19 and 21 – will be dedicated to flood relief. The tickets can be purchased at Rogers Arena during the games or online, though they are only available to people located in B.C. while purchasing.
“The flooding has been catastrophic, and we want to do anything we can. We invite Canucks fans across B.C. to join us in supporting those who need it the most," Paolo Aquilini of the Canucks for Kids Fund said in a statement.
Other charitable efforts to provide B.C. flood relief include:
- The Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund, a collaboration by the Abbotsford Community Foundation, the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and the University of the Fraser Valley. The fund aims to help Abbotsford-based organizations and businesses as they rebuild in the months and years to come.
- The 15th Annual RED FM Gurpurab Radiothon, held on Nov. 19, will benefit the Red Cross this year. In the past, the event has provided funds to the Surrey Hospitals Foundation, but this year the foundation asked that funds be put toward flood relief instead.
- The Salvation Army has dispatched its emergency units to six of the hardest-hit communities across the province and has launched a fundraising appeal for emergency flood relief.
- A coalition of Vancouver-based companies announced on Nov. 19 that they had donated nearly $1 million combined toward the Red Cross flood relief fund. Some of the companies that contributed were Hootsuite, Aritizia, Arc’teryx, Thinkific, Canucks Entertainment, Bosa Properties, Colliers, Earls Restaurants, Plenty of Fish and Nexii, according to a news release.
- The Abbotsford-based GiveClear Foundation has launched its own fundraising appeal to support flood recovery in the Fraser Valley. The foundation describes itself as "an all-in-one giving platform to make your giving simple," and says it will collaborate with local charities, the cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack and other organizations to disburse funds where they're needed.
- The BC Agriculture Council announced on Nov. 19 that it has established a fund to support farmers affected by the floods. The non-governmental farm advocacy organization says it has raised $100,000 so far, which will directly support farmers in need. To donate or to review a list of resources specifically for farmers, visit the council's website.
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