The City of Maple Ridge is trying to find a verified organization to work with to further help the victims of the massive blaze Friday night.
And, until one is found the city is asking anyone who wants to make a financial donation, to wait until they find a local agency to coordinate those efforts.
The city is also advising those wanting to help to be cautious of donating to other unverified online groups and/or pages and to watch for possible scams.
“While we greatly appreciate the overwhelming generosity of people wanting to help those who have been displaced by this weekend’s fire and the desire to set up GoFundMe pages and other fundraising drives, we ask for people’s patience as we work to establish a verified organization to work with,” appealed Stephan Drolet, deputy fire chief, emergency management – fire prevention.
Drolet explained that the city has reached out to a local organization that has the capacity to handle and administer donations in a transparent way and they expect to be able to share more information on how people can donate later this week.
This will ensure that funds are collected and distributed to help the people displaced by the fire, he said.
“This formal connection will allow our charity partner to distribute funds based on the changing needs of the people displaced by the fire. Cash donations will allow the greatest flexibility for people to stabilize their situation as they access insurance supports or find longer term housing,” he said.
The Canadian Red Cross is not seeking any financial donations for the victims of this fire. Funds donated to the Canadian Red Cross will go towards supporting their overall programs – including the Emergency Support Services they are providing in partnership with the City to people impacted by this weekend’s fire.
In the meantime, the city’s Emergency Support Services, (ESS), partners have been working to register people that have been displaced and establish contact with everyone to ensure that their short term needs are addressed as they access support through their insurance providers.
People who have not yet registered in person can do so by calling the Canadian Red Cross’s disaster assistance toll-free line at 1-888-800-6493 to identify that they have been impacted by the Maple Ridge fire. The operator will connect the caller with the appropriate resources.
“Once again, we advise people to be patient and be cautious of making donations to online groups and pages that have not been verified. Once we have the donation partner in place, let’s put our full energy to ensure that we are helping our neighbours get through this difficult time,” added Drolet.
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