Community volunteers in Lillooet receive the supplies brought in by Jessica McCallum-Miller (far left) and Gladys Radek (far right). (Photo courtesy Gladys Radek)

Community volunteers in Lillooet receive the supplies brought in by Jessica McCallum-Miller (far left) and Gladys Radek (far right). (Photo courtesy Gladys Radek)

Northwest B.C. activists, non-profits send supplies for mothers and babies affected by wildfires

Indigenous activists from Terrace drove down to Lillooet with relief supplies for wildfire evacuees

Activists from northwest B.C. were in the southern interior over the weekend delivering supplies collected by northwestern non-profit groups and others for those affected by wildfires.

Through donations from community members and non-profits, essential supplies such as diapers, formulas, baby food, wipes among other things were sent for young mothers and babies.

The essentials were transported by grassroots activists Galdys Radek and Jessica McCallum- Miller who drove from Terrace to Lillooet and dropped off the supplies along with cash donations. Radek will be heading back again with a second load of donations from Terrace this week.

Terrace-based Kermode Friendship Society, Smithers’ Dze L K’Ant Friendship Centre Society and Friendship House Association of Prince Rupert, Tears to Hope, the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and the Matriarchs in Training are some of the agencies that came together to donate supplies.

Jolene Wesley, executive director of Kermode Friendship Society, said that they will continue to collect donations. Wesley said that with many GoFundMe groups already raising money for the wildfire victims, Kermode Friendship society and allies opted to collect essential supplies for babies and young mothers as these commodities are hard to come by in such situations.

“When I heard about the Lytton fire, the first thing that came to my mind were women and children… a lot of families had lost everything and I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing,” said Radek.

Radek and McCallum-Miller spoke to Black Press Media from Kelowna and said that the evacuees are still in need of items like baby strollers, back packs, purses, blankets, pillows, bedding, kids toys, play pens etc. These items can be dropped of at Kermode Friendship on Park Ave. in Terrace.

The duo said that the journey to Lillooet was “intense” as they witnessed multiple accidents along the highway – in Hazelton, Burns Lake and 100 Mile House.

Just before reaching Lillooet, a little after 10 p.m., Radek said that all they could see in the horizon were flames. “It almost looked like we were driving into the fire,” she said before describing the terrible air quality due to the smoke from the wildfires.

McCallum-Miller also said that it was unfortunate to see that the provincial government had not acted fast enough to provide relief packages to the people who were affected by the wildfires.

“People I spoke to told me that some of them didn’t receive support for over 14 hours,” she said, and added, that the provincial and federal governments need to provide timely responses.