Okanagan Animal Food Bank in need of supplies amid severe wildfire season

With hundreds of wildfires burning across the province, animal welfare societies in the Okanagan are working to support people’s pets after being evacuated.

“Already in 2023, across Western Canada, we have sent over 100,000 meals just for evacuation support. That’s not support for other organizations providing regular pet food bank services or even our own branches, we are expecting that to skyrocket, now that the fire season has picked up in BC,” said Nicole Frey Animal Food Bank founder.

Currently, there are 480 wildfires burning in the province, with multiple evacuation orders and alerts in effect at this time.

The Animal Food Bank operates as an umbrella organization that connects agencies on the ground with pet food, crates, leeches, and any other supplies needed immediately, but their resources are depleting.

“Not only are our cupboards bare but we have a tripod of support. Myself through the Animal Food Bank, Nikki through 4 Paws in Kamloops, and Katie from the Good Haul, we have been working really closely together over the last three years,” said Frey.

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“Their cupboards are bare as well. Normally we would have a stockpile available and we would get that out and then start working on refilling it. This year, we don’t have the stockpile to send.”

Donations are being accepted at Total Pet in Kelowna and Kamloops, and there is also an online fundraiser to help Frey and her team while they are focusing on supporting agencies in Cranbrook and Kamloops.

“The drier it gets, the hotter it gets, the more lightning there, the more disasters that can happen and what we know is that we don’t know anything. During the fire season, things can change in a matter of a minute,” said Frey.

“We really depend on the support of the community to be able to respond instantly.”

Many animal welfare agencies are working together to make sure pets can stay with their owners.

If people need to board livestock or pets or even need to borrow a trailer, an interactive volunteer-based map from West Coast Animal Advocates is one of many available resources.

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