Fellow Rotarians in Districts 5040, 5050 and 5060

District Governors Shirley-Pat (D5040), David (D5050) and Marjolein (D5060) send greetings, hugs and positive thoughts throughout BC and Washington State. As you are aware, our members are experiencing yet another devastating fire season. Even beyond the borders of our Districts, our hearts ache for those in Northwest Territories, Eastern Washington and Hawaii who are also dealing with horrific fires causing the evacuation of entire cities and the devastating loss of their homes and structures. Many have also lost loved ones. We send our deepest condolences to them.



We would like to sincerely thank the first responders, firefighters, police, emergency services and the hundreds of volunteers who are fighting the fires. We are grateful to those who are keeping the evacuated areas safe, and assisting those who are displaced from their homes. We are blessed by those who are simply doing their very best to support those who are going through a very challenging time. The strength and resilience of our communities is one of the reasons why many of us joined Rotary.

Despite the heroic efforts of everyone involved, the destruction is significant, and many will have to rebuild. As of August 21, in West Kelowna, the estimated number of homes destroyed is at least 50, and many more homes and structures have incurred damage. Kelowna and the Lake Country are also reporting structures lost. The Shuswap area has been hit by the Adams Lake fire, where more structures have been destroyed, and all of these fires are still active while people wait to return to their homes.

How can you and your club help?

The Rotary Club of Steveston-Richmond Charitable Society (RCoSRCS) will accept donations for evacuees affected by wildfires across British Columbia. If you want to donate, you can do so by e-transfer or cheque. Please indicate in your e-transfer or cheque that your donation is for BC Wildfire Relief 2023. Tax receipts are available on request. To receive a tax receipt, an email or mailing address must be supplied in the comments box so that the donor can be identified for the receipt.

  • E-Transfers can be made to: society@stevestonrotary.ca.
  • Cheques can be sent to: Rotary Club of Steveston-Richmond Charitable Society (RCoSRCS) 12111 - 3RD Avenue, RICHMOND, BC, V7E 3K1.

How are the donations distributed?

For the initial response we will be again partnering with EOC (Emergency Operation Centres), ESS (Emergency Service Sites) staff and Canadian Red Cross, who will be distributing donations either via gift cards or e-transfer (with receipt to prove expense) directly to evacuees. These organizations' staff members are on the ground and know what the needs are. We use gift cards

and e-transfers because we believe this allows us to treat people respectfully. Our goal is to afford them some dignity at this difficult time. We must trust that they are using them to meet their needs as they see fit.

Experience from the 2021/2022 wildfire relief program shows that funding plans may have to be broadened and modified as the needs, and the means to meet the needs of those affected by the wildfires evolve. There are essentially two kinds of evacuees that may require assistance. The first are those who have been evacuated for a relatively short period of time until the fire threat has subsided to the point where they can return to their homes. The second are those who cannot return because their homes and properties have been damaged or destroyed. Their local infrastructure may also have been damaged. This latter group obviously may require more substantial assistance for a longer period of time. Participation by local Rotary clubs and their members will be required to handle this phase of the relief and recovery effort.

For those in the BC Southern Interior who would like to offer direct help in the form of volunteer time or dropping off water/snacks etc., there are many ways to assist.

1. The Salvation Army Mobile Unit is accepting donations for firefighters. They desperately need protein bars, Gatorade and bottled water. Please drop it off at Rutland Salvation Army Thrift Store, 200 Rutland Road South, Kelowna.

2. Westside Salvation Army, 3531 Old Okanagan Highway, accepts donations of toiletries, non-perishable food/snacks and clothing.

3. Kelowna SPCA is accepting donations for any family pets who need help.

4. Local food banks throughout the valley will see much higher volumes of people in their respective communities, so please keep them in mind as well. Please consider contacting Kamloops, Salmon Arm/Shuswap, Vernon, Lake Country, Kelowna/Central Okanagan, West Kelowna or Penticton Food Banks.

5. United Way British Columbia, for example, has partnered with Interior Savings and Gulf & Fraser Credit Unions to match every dollar donated to wildfire victims up to $20,000. The money will go to ensure evacuees have their basic food and water. It will also back mental health supports, pop-up camps for kids, legal services for low-income families and grants to help people recover and rebuild.

In this challenging time, let us remember to have patience with ourselves and each other and most of all, let us be kind to one another.

Fellow Governor Brent said it best, “If you know fellow Rotarians in these affected communities, please reach out and offer your support and prayers, letting them know there are many Rotarians who are concerned and care about their well-being.”


We sincerely thank you for anything that you can do.

District Governors Shirley-Pat (D5040), David (D5050) and Marjolein (D5060)