An Emergency Social Services (ESS) centre has been set up at the Cache Creek Community Hall, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, for the foreseeable future.
ESS director Lisa Dafoe says that the decision to open an ESS in Cache Creek was made on Friday, August 4 when it was learned that the ESS in Ashcroft (which has now moved to the old Better at Home office at 314 Railway Avenue) was closing over the long weekend to give the volunteers there a rest. Arrangements for a Cache Creek ESS were made on the 4th, and it opened on August 5.
“People didn’t want to have to go too far [to access an ESS]. It’s for anyone who is under an Evacuation Order,” says Dafoe. “The ESS directive is food, clothing, and lodging, for as long as we can meet the need.” Volunteers at the centre provide referral forms so that people can purchase food at local stores and eat in local restaurants, which helps the local economy at a time when it is much-needed.
The Cache Creek ESS has been helping people from Loon Lake, Clinton, Chasm, and 20 Mile. Residents of Boston Flats no longer qualify for ESS, as the Evacuation Order for the community has been lifted, but they can still get assistance from the Red Cross, which also has centres near the ESS sites in Cache Creek and Ashcroft.
“The Red Cross will be here for some time,” says Dafoe. “They are still in response mode, and then will go to recovery.”
She adds that they would welcome anyone who would like to volunteer at the centre. “We have a training session every morning where we guide people about how to fill in the forms, and we stay with them at the tables until they feel comfortable.” Anyone interested in volunteering at the ESS can email Dafoe at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message at (250) 457-9917.
A Cache Creek ESS Facebook page has also been set up, and Dafoe says that would be the ideal way for people to find out about the centre and about volunteering there. The more volunteers the better, in order to take the strain off the existing volunteers in Cache Creek and Ashcroft.
“A couple of the Ashcroft Indian Band people need to go back to work,” says Dafoe. “And while we have lots of people wanting to help at the beginning, that dwindles as time goes on.
“Everyone is feeling different effects of this disaster. It’s great to be able to help people. Thank you so much to every person fighting the fire, and everyone putting time in to volunteer.”