A charity from Kelowna was recognized on the national stage last week when Justin Trudeau visited areas impacted by wildfires in the Central Okanagan to thank firefighters, front-line workers and organizations who have been working around the clock to help and protect people who have been impacted by the destruction.
Trudeau and his daughter paid a special visit to Mamas for Mamas, a poverty relief agency that works every single day of the year to ensure that kids can go to school with full bellies and clean clothes and return to a safe home.
When wildfires spread across the Central Okanagan on Aug. 17, displacing thousands of people and causing widespread damage, the team at Mamas stepped up and took action.
In addition to the regular day-to-day work of supporting caregivers, Mamas took on the task of helping people who had been forced to evacuate or had been impacted by the fires.
“It was an immense honour to receive recognition from our federal government for the work being done by this grassroots non-profit that was founded right here in Kelowna,” said Shannon Christensen, the founder of Mamas for Mamas.
The prime minister delivered a load of donations and thanked the staff and volunteers at Mamas who are working to ensure that displaced families and front-line workers are cared for.
Christensen said that without the support and donations from the community, other outreach organizations and local businesses, Mamas would not have been able to help as many people as they did during this time of urgency.
“It takes a village. We certainly didn’t accomplish anything on our own.”
The founder of Mamas beamed with pride while talking about her team who worked selflessly and tirelessly, despite experiencing their own evacuations and uncertainty as the wildfires grew.
Christensen said that the most moving aspect of the entire experience was witnessing the unity and resilience of the communities in the Okanagan.
“This community demonstrated to our nation and the world just how powerful compassion and swift action are during times of crisis. We certainly didn’t accomplish anything on our own, we just acted as a trusted conduit from givers to receivers and had the privilege of acting as a collaborator with the active emergency agencies.”
To access supports from Mamas including emergency essentials for people impacted by fires, childcare, wellness groups and back to school assistance or to donate and learn more visit mamasformamas.org.