Vernon thrift store still helping summer wildfire victims

Still helping fire victims

Gena Barzan has never seen such an outpouring of generosity.

Among the many hats she wears is operating the Animal Auxiliary Thrift store in Vernon.

The store not only benefits animals, but also does what it can to support people as well.

Throughout the summer fires, the thrift store was offering items to anyone evacuated by the flames. It was also delivering pet food and other much-needed items – and has continued to do so during B.C.'s flooding crisis.

“In all these years, I have never seen people come together like they have during the fires and floods,” said Barzan. “It's not just people from one area. We have gotten donations from all across BC ... from Prince Rupert, all the way to Toronto.”

Even though the flames have died, Barzan is still helping those impacted by the wildfires.

On Tuesday, Santa will be stopping by the thrift store to hand out presents to dozens of children whose families were displaced by the fires.

Barzan is also working with the Lumby Food Bank to provide Christmas hampers for the families.

“We have 25 confirmed families – big families – as well as seniors we are suppling food for,” said Barzan, adding food donations, especially meat, are needed.

“There are 110 children who are going to be needing gifts. We have lots of volunteers, but we could sure use help in the gift department,” said Barzan, adding people can drop off wrapped gifts with the gender and age of the child written on an accompanying note.

“Many of these people's homes have burned down,” she said.

“All children are allowed to come and see Santa and have their picture taken with him,” she added.

For more information on when the thrift store is open and when items can be dropped off, check the thrift store's Facebook page.

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