After bringing four homeowners in the Williams Lake area back to homes after the 2017 wildfires, Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) was presented with a $100,000 grant Friday morning at Williams Lake City Hall.
Gathered with two homeowners from Spokin Lake Road who lost everything but regained hope after volunteers and local businesses partnered together through MDS to build them a new home, Divisional Commander of the Salvation Army for B.C., Lt. Colonel Jamie Braund says the Salvation Army has been sharing funds over the last year through their 2017 Wildfire Relief Fund to assist the 10 communities that were the most affected.
“When we heard of what was taking place in this particular situation we made the decision to give $100,000 to Mennonite Disaster Service specifically to help with the rebuilding of these four homes because it was a clear recognition of the donors’ wishes from British Columbia to help people who were most affected by the situation.”
Braund said through the Salvation Army’s 2017 Wildfire Relief Fund, they have also in the past six months given $75,000 back to Williams Lake.
Mennonite Disaster Service’s rebuilding project began last May and ended in November.
It resulted in four new homes being built in the Williams Lake area by 236 volunteers with the support of local businesses Home Hardware, United Concrete, and Sprucelee Construction.
“We’re so grateful for the gift of the Salvation Army for the rebuilding of these homes,” said MDS Director of Canadian Operations, Ross Penner.
“As I think about coming and receiving this gift, it was very important to us that we do that in this community that owns its recovery that has been so significant so I just want to say a huge thank you to the community. It has been such a privilege to be part of the work of the recovery here with the churches, with the churches that have supported those who recovered, with the businesses, with the local government that has been just so welcoming and so helpful in our recovery effort.”
Joan Scheffler who lives on Spokin Lake Road said she is very grateful and thankful for her new home.
“It’s a lovely house and I’m enjoying it,” she said.
“I’m grateful for the donations that came in. It’s just wonderful and my church helped a lot and I’m thankful for that too. I’m thankful for the Salvation Army because now we can help more people that need it and bring them back.”