Photo/Richard Thiessen

View of Abbotsford.

Update - December 3rd - Communities in Crisis - Click here to give.

The communities of Arnold and Yarrow, in BC’s Fraser Valley, experienced devastating flooding and loss on Nov 14-15, 2021. As community members and the church surveyed the damage to their properties and community, they also looked at each other and reached out to help carry each other’s burdens. Neighbours helped each other, newcomers to the community were introduced, people made new friends and connections. People prayed. People volunteered. People gave. People served.  These communities were challenged and will experience continued challenges, but they also grew stronger and grew together.

In both Arnold and Yarrow the church/churches became an emergency community resource centres to the local and wider community. Volunteers from within the church and community used their skill, ability and resources to coordinate and extraordinary effort, including:

Arnold Community

  • Coordinated a board where community members listed their home needs
  • Teams assessed needs and coordinated volunteer efforts to help homeowners to dispose of contaminated possessions, drywall and flooring
  • Coordination of coffee, hot lunches and dinners for up to 150-200 people daily
  • Accepted donations to set up a food bank for the community to access
  • Accepted donation of clothing and basic home supplies for the community to access
  • Collected personal protective equipment for homeowners and volunteer use
  • Set up temporary landfills for drywall, insulation and waste to be dropped off and hauled away

Yarrow Community

  • Coordinated a list where community members listed their home needs
  • Teams assessed needs and coordinated volunteer efforts to help homeowners to dispose of contaminated possessions, drywall and flooring
  • Collected personal protective equipment for homeowners and volunteer use
  • Set up a food bank, cafeteria and kitchen running with long term capacity (2-3 months at this point)
  • Offered financial aid services
  • Yarrow MCC Thrift Store gave free clothes to people in need
  • A childcare program
  • Community sandbagging effort

We are comforted that we are not alone. Brothers and sisters from the Mennonite World Conference have been lifting our communities up in prayer.

Latin America, Uruguay:
Amén!! Desde Uruguay apoyamos en Dios es fiel, y él estará proveyendo todos los recursos, para salir muy pronto de esta situación.!!

Translation: Amen!!! From Uruguay we support. God is faithful, and he will be providing all the resources, to get out of this situation very soon!

MB leader in Paraguay:
Dios ponga sus manos de amor y bendición sobre nuestros hermanos. Dario

Translation:
May God place his hands of love and blessing on our brothers.

DR Congo Menno:
Sincèrement Merci beaucoup pour cette Lettre combien louable pour la gloire de notre Seigneur Jésus Christ. Nous allons prier pour nos frères et sœurs Mennonites Anabaptistes afin que la mains du très touche et consoles ceux dont les cœurs sont briser. Paix, Robert

Translated: Thank you very much for this letter, so commendable for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. We will pray for our Anabaptist Mennonite brothers and sisters that the hand of the Lord will touch and comfort those whose hearts are broken. Peace, Robert

Continue to pray for all of those affected by the floods and for the churches who continue to support and care for those in their communities.  The journey to full recovery and restoration will continue for months and for some years.  MCC continues to coordinate closely with our local churches and Samaritan’s Purse as they respond in the Fraser Valley, and with MDS as they respond in Princeton, another of the heavily flood affected communities in B.C. We are grateful for the continued generosity of our donors and look forward to assisting in the rebuilding/restoration phase with Mennonite Disaster Service in the coming months. 

Shelley Dueck, MCC BC Disaster Response Coordinator

Update - November 25th

It has been a challenging week across southern BC. A week since the flooding our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones in the mudslide and to those who have lost homes, businesses, livestock and are now figuring out the next steps.

MCC is supporting efforts organized by Mennonite Disaster Services (MDS) and churches in the affected areas, as well as monitoring gaps in services to vulnerable people. 

In Princeton, MDS is organizing clean-up efforts where over 300 homes have been flooded. If you are interested in volunteering for clean-up please contact Kelsey Friesen at kfriesen@mds.org or 1-866-261-1274. Volunteers will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, the first crews will start on December 6th. At this time volunteers will need to be vaccinated.

The City of Abbotsford has invited Samaritan’s Purse to take the lead role with emergency response as well as coordinating efforts to clean out homes that are affected by flooding. They will be inviting volunteers, please contact Samaritans Purse directly if you would like to support their efforts. MDS together with MCC is considering clean-up efforts in the Fraser valley for needs that are not met by Samaritans Purse.  

In Abbotsford and Princeton, MDS will be responding to the recovery and rebuilding phase, which MCC is supporting, with a priority on families whose homes are uninsured or underinsured and don’t have sufficient access to other resources. MCC is also collaborating with churches in Yarrow and Arnold to support their efforts. If your church needs assistance with flood response or would like to assist others, please contact Shelley Dueck at shelleydueck@mccbc.ca or 604-850-6639 at the MCC BC office.  

In general, we are addressing short-term needs not met by others and the recovery and rebuilding phase which will be ongoing. We invite donations to MCC and MDS as we work together to help those in need. We appreciate your ongoing prayers for those impacted as well as those responding.

With our deepest gratitude,

Wayne Bremner, Executive Director MCC BC

Update - November 19th

It has now been several days since heavy rains caused massive flooding in southern B.C.  The situation is rapidly evolving and we are actively assessing where our help might be needed. We are now inviting cash donations for our BC Flood Response for those impacted by heavy rains and flooding.

We are not at this time inviting donations of goods or material aid for those affected. There was an incorrect message from the City of Abbotsford and other outlets indicating that MCC thrift stores are receiving donated goods to be sent to flood victims. This is not the time for us to send unrequested donated goods into flood zones.

Our response is still in the process of being developed as we discern the needs that are not being met by others. At this time we are not involved with the front-line emergency response. Our focus will be to assess the unmet needs of the most vulnerable members of our community and step into the gaps, support Mennonite Disaster Services (MDS) in their response, and to support churches that are responding to the needs in their communities and congregations.

We are honored and humbled to be receiving offers of assistance, including volunteers and donated goods, which we will track for future reference. At this point, we can invite cash donations.

Your prayers are appreciated. Please consider all of those working on the front lines of this crisis, for families who have been forced from their homes or have lost loved ones, for farmers who have lost livestock, other businesses who have been deeply impacted, and for our civic leaders as they make challenging decisions.

We will keep you posted on our website, Facebook, and periodic emails as needed.

With our deepest gratitude,

Wayne Bremner, Executive Director MCC BC

 

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