When the community flooded Sunday, Nov. 14 Princeton Baptist Church on Old Hedley Road was ready to answer the call for assistance.
Its members just didn’t know it, quite yet.
“The mayor came and met with our pastor, Kyle, and he asked us to just be the contact point for all of this stuff, the donations and the need, and it just exploded from there,” said Rhianfa Riel, who coordinates the church’s efforts.
For several years the church has operated the town’s food bank, and had already established a ‘firewood ministry,’ for those needing heat during winter.
The human infrastructure was in place to expand on that giving, and volunteers quickly went to work.
It’s a sometimes overwhelming challenge, Riel admitted.
The church is coordinating the receipt and distribution of food, clothing, other essential items such as diapers and feminine hygiene products, and furniture.
The facility’s basement is a labyrinth of small rooms now stocked to the ceiling with canned and dried goods, boots and coats, bedding, and toys for children.
There is a fresh water truck in the parking lot, for people to fill up large containers, and pallets of bottled water.
There is also milk, produce, pet food and animal carriers available.
“Anyone who comes…you don’t have to register. We will give you what you need, and you can have it as many times as you need it.”
Riel said the organization is no longer accepting clothing donations, because there is no place to store them. She urged people wanting to donate to send their goods to Merritt, and other towns hit hard by floods.
The center is open six days a week, Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
When asked for a final comment Riel did not hesitate to respond.
“Give God the glory for our church, and what we are able to do now,” Riel said.
Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne expressed his deep gratitude to the church volunteers. “I honestly don’t know what we would have done without them. That’s the highest kudos I think I can give anyone,” he said.
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