Fraser Valley Floods: How to give (and get) help
Fraser Valley residents are chipping in to provide help to neighbours in need. This is our list of everywhere you can help.
Amy Tucker was done with repeatedly hitting that refresh button to see more bad news. Like many Abbotsford residents, she watched with dismay as flood waters swept into Sumas Prairie. And while she wasn’t directly impacted she knew many who were.
People across the Fraser Valley and Canada have found a variety of ways to help their neighbours. Harnessing all that energy can be tricky. So Amy has put her efforts into making it easier for people to help the many organizations in need of assistance.
“I figured I would put all my time doom scrolling to good use,” Amy said. So she started work on a database of organizations providing assistance, most of which are also accepting donations and help from the public.
You can find her database here. It includes groups working both in the Fraser Valley, across BC, and in Merritt.
We’ve highlighted some of the prominent local organizations below. Inspired and aided by Amy’s database we’ve put together our own list of how you can help. Many of our readers, we also know, need help. That’s not necessarily easy. So we’ve also collected links and information on how to get assistance, whether it be financial or otherwise.
In an emergency, the easiest and often most useful thing to donate can be your money. These are some of the organizations collecting funds for those in need.
- Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund: The Abbotsford Community Foundation, the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, and the University of the Fraser Valley are jointly fundraising to support front-line agencies providing essential services to affected families and businesses.
- Archway Food Bank: Abbotsford’s food bank, run by Archway Community Services, is looking for monetary donations in addition to food to support locals in need.
- BC Agriculture Council: The BC Agriculture Council is raising funds to help farmers impacted by flooding throughout the province. It is not a charitable organization and cannot issue a tax receipt.
- BC Dairy: BC Dairy is collecting funds to provide dairy farmers with services and supplies. It is not a registered charity, and cannot issue a tax receipt.
- BC SPCA: The BC SPCA is accepting donations to help board and provide supplies for evacuated animals in British Columbia.
- City Life Church: The Chilliwack church is collecting donations for flood relief in the valley. You can give online or e-transfer the funds to [email protected] with “Flood Relief” in the subject line.
- Fraser Valley Child Development Centre: The Centre is collecting funds for families affected by flooding and landslides by providing necessities like gas cards, groceries, clothing, and medical supplies.
- GiveClear: The Abbotsford-based foundation is fundraising, ad will be collaborating with local organizations to determine where the funds should go.
- GoFundMe: The fundraising site GoFundMe has a list of verified fundraisers set up to support people across British Columbia impacted by flooding and landslides.
- Hope Food Bank: Although the community of Hope is still largely isolated by washouts and landslides, you can still support the food bank with a monetary donation.
- Islamic Relief Canada: Islamic Relief Canada is in Abbotsford providing supplies to evacuees. They are asking for donations to support their efforts.
- LAPS: The Langley Animal Protection Society is raising funds for pet owners who are in need due to states of emergency through Major’s Legacy Fund.
- Migrant Rights Network: The Migrant Rights Network is accepting monetary donations to support temporary farmworkers in British Columbia who have been affected by flooding and landslides. The network will distribute prepaid gift cards and other supplies.
- Red Cross: The Red Cross is fundraising to humanitarian assistance to individuals and communities impacted by flooding and landslides in British Columbia.
- Salvation Army: The organization is on the ground in some of the hardest hit communities providing food, shelter and warm clothing to first responders and evacuees.
- United Way: United Way’s BC Flood Response Fund aims to raise funds to “address important social needs like shelter, food assistance, trauma and mental health supports, and the rebuilding [of] social infrastructure.” Donations will be given from United Way to local non-profit agencies.
- Yarrow Alliance Church: The Yarrow church has established a community care fund to help support locals impacted by flooding and landslides.
Anyone who wants to volunteer to help organizations support evacuees and flood recovery efforts can look through the list below. Needs are changing all the time.
- Clean your catch basins: The City of Abbotsford has asked residents to do their part to help with increased rainfall by cleaning out catch basins in their neighbourhood. City staff who normally clear the basins of leaves and other debris are busy in Sumas Prairie, leaving them little time to flood-proof the rest of the city.
- Charis Camp and Conference Centre: Charis Camp currently has 50 evacuees staying at the camp. They are looking for volunteers to help in the kitchen. Text 604-991-9862 to volunteer.
- City Life Church: The Chilliwack church is looking for volunteers to help with the week’s meal service for those who are displaced. Volunteers will help with peeling vegetables, clearing tables, cooking, and cleaning. Anyone able to volunteer should call 604-792-0694 to sign up.
- FV Flood Help: This Facebook group is connecting people who can help those that were affected by flooding and landslides in the Fraser Valley. Needs are wide-ranging, and change as the situation changes.
- Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association: Chilliwack’s Kindness Chain is always looking for volunteers for their many efforts to assist people affected by flooding and landslides.
- Rebuild the Valley: Trades Resource: This Facebook group is connecting people with trades backgrounds to those in need in the Fraser Valley. No donations of money or goods are being accepted.
- Yarrow Alliance Church: The Yarrow Alliance Church is opening a flood relief community care centre, and is looking for volunteers to help staff it for three hour shifts during the week.
Many people and animals have been evacuated from Sumas Prairie and other parts of the Fraser Valley, and they all need a place to stay. Here is where you can connect with others if you want to open your home to evacuees.
- Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce: Tourism Chilliwack and the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce are working together to provide accommodations for evacuees in Chilliwack. Residents with extra space available can contact [email protected] to register.
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If you have items you want to donate, there are a number of places accepting physical donations of things like food and blankets. Check with each organization before donating, as sometimes space can run out.
- BC SPCA: If you want to donate pet supplies to help animals evacuated from the Fraser Valley or elsewhere in BC, you can contact your local animal shelter for details on how to do that.
- Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce: The chamber is accepting donations of bottled water. You can call 604-392-1183 between 8am to 8pm.
- City Life Church: The Chilliwack church is accepting food donations for the meals it is providing to evacuees. Check its Facebook page for details on what is needed each week.
- Farm Store in Yarrow: The Farm Store in Yarrow is turning its Christmas Market on Saturday (Nov. 27) into a fundraiser for flood relief. They are asking for donations of diapers, formula, and non-perishable food items for evacuated families.
- Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association: Chilliwack’s Kindness Chain accepts donations for people affected by flooding and landslides. Contact the association for more details on what is needed and where you can drop it off.
- Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau: The Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau is holding a toy drive in Abbotsford to provide toys to children in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Agassiz, Mission, Merritt and Hope. The toy drive will be taking place at 360 Collision Centres (31450 Peardonville Rd.) between 9am and 3pm on Dec. 11.
- Southside Church: The Chilliwack church is collecting donations for flood evacuees. Check out its Facebook page for details on what they are collecting and when donations are being accepted.
If you need sandbags to protect your home or community, visit one of the following locations. (You can check out our map of these locations here.) Don’t forget your shovel.
- Chilliwack: Townsend Park (45130 Wolfe Rd.)
- Abbotsford: Albert Dyck Park (3515 Walmsley Ave.)
- Kent (Agassiz): Centennial Park (6660 Pioneer Ave.)
- Hope: Call District Hall at 604-869-5671 between 8:30am and 4:30pm
- Yarrow: Yarrow General Store (41924 Yarrow Central Rd.)
- Mission: Public Works Yard (33835 Dewdney Trunk Rd.)
- Fraser Canyon: Camp Squeah (27915 Trans Canada Highway)
- Chilliwack River Valley: Chilliwack River Valley Firehall (48685 Chilliwack Lake Rd.)
- Columbia Valley: Columbia Valley Firehall (1202 Kosikar Rd.)
- Dewdney: North Fraser Firehall (#1 8840 Rowan Rd.)
- Langley: Township of Langley Operations Centre (4700 – 224 St. between 8:30am and 4:30pm)
Get financial help
If you have been impacted by flooding and/or landslides in the Fraser Valley, there are a number of places you can go to get financial help.
- BC Disaster Assistance: Available for both individuals, businesses, and organizations, BC has financial assistance to help cover sudden, unexpected, and uninsurable losses. You have until Feb. 12, 2022 to apply.
- Red Cross: If your primary residence was placed on evacuation order due to the flooding and extreme weather event between Nov. 14 to 16, 2021, you are eligible to receive $2,000. Call 1-800-863-6582.
- FortisBC: FortisBC is providing automatic credits to customers who have been evacuated from their homes for more than five days. Their website also has a list of tips for how to handle your natural gas after returning from a flood.
- BC Hydro: Anyone who is evacuated from their home for more than five days will receive an automatic credit to their bill. If an evacuation order made you late to pay our bills, BC Hydro will also waive the late fee. If you need more time to pay your bills, you can request a catch-up plan.
- British Columbia Livestock Relocation: BC has policies in place to reimburse farmers for relocating their livestock during emergencies. Details are available on the province’s website.
- United Way: If you are a local organization looking for funds to support people in need due to flooding and landslides, contact United Way to see if you are eligible for funding from the BC Flood Response Fund.
- Disaster Financial Assistance for local communities: BC has financial assistance available for Indigenous communities and other local governments due to flooding between Nov. 14 to 16. You have until Feb. 12, 2022 to apply.
- Emergency Management Assistance Program for Indigenous communities: The federal government’s emergency management assistance program can reimburse response and recovery activities after an emergency. Contact your local ISC regional office to apply.
Whether you need a place to stay, some food to eat, or resources to get you through, the first thing you should do is register as an evacuee and visit the nearest emergency support services reception centre. Other resources, which are also listed below, are available for you as well.
- BC Evacuee Registration and Assistance: If you have been evacuated from your home, self-register to receive emergency support from the province.
- Abbotsford Tradex: Abbotsford’s emergency support services reception centre is set up at the Abbotsford Tradex. It is open 24/7.
- Evergreen Hall: Chilliwack’s emergency support services reception centre is located at Evergreen Hall (9291 Corbould Street) for anyone needing immediate assistance.
- Riverside Christian Reformed Church: Anyone in Agassiz who has been evacuated from their home can visit the District of Kent’s emergency support service’s reception centre to receive support. Evacuees can also email [email protected] to get help with accommodations. Space is available at Harrison Hot Springs Resort for evacuees.
- Abbotsford Public Information Line: Abbotsford staff are able to answer questions for evacuees through the public information line at 604-864-5688.
- BC SPCA: If you are in need of emergency boarding for your pets, you can call the BC SPCA call centre at 1-855-622-7722.
- Fraser Valley Humane Society: Evacuees with small pets indeed of emergency boarding can contact the Fraser Valley Humane Society in Mission at 604-820-2977.
- Tourism Chilliwack: Tourism Chilliwack has partnered with the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce to help evacuees find accommodations in Chilliwack. Contact 604-392-1183 between 8am and 8pm for assistance.
- Chilliwack Flood Relief Centre: There is a volunteer-run flood relief centre based out of Unit #4-7965 Venture Pl. There is food, pet supplies, baby items, clothing, toiletries, women’s hygiene products, and blankets. Open 10am to 4pm.
- AgSafe Mental Health Resources: Producers in British Columbia can use AgSafe resources to get mental wellness supports during the crisis. The list of supports is available through the AgSafe website.