Support has been strong for Okanagan Indian Band residents who are recovering from a devastating wildfire season.
Due to power outages caused by the White Rock Lake wildfire this past summer, many OKIB residents lost the wild meat and fish stored in their freezers, food that would normally sustain them throughout the winter. The community’s grocery store was also lost in the fire, and currently some OKIB households are under evacuation alert due to the threat of flooding and landslides.
In addition, the intense summer heat meant many hay and grain farmers had an unsuccessful crop yield, resulting in a dramatic rise in the cost of feed. Many local farmers have had to slaughter more animals than usual as they can no longer secure the hay needed to overwinter them, leading to economic uncertainty for the farmers.
In response to these hardships, the OKIB partnered with Land to Table and the Social Planning and Research Council of BC to gather funds for those affected. A GoFundMe was launched with the goal of raising $5,000 to purchase meat directly from local farmers, especially those farmers who are struggling to overwinter their livestock. The meat will be used to restock the OKIB community freezer and distributed to community members in need.
The fundraiser has already eclipsed its goal, with $7,420 raised as of Tuesday afternoon. Surplus funds will be used for a variety of food security initiatives such as the OKIB community garden and the Good Food Box.
“Initially, we thought this would be a tough goal to meet but clearly we underestimated your generosity,” reads an update to the original GoFundMe webpage.
For anyone who would like to donate, the fundraising campaign is still open until Thursday, Dec. 16.