For four days, hundreds of people flowed in and out Hope secondary school.
There were weary, stranded travelers, emergency volunteers and school staff all mingling together. And then there was ‘Hope,’ a little golden retriever puppy who was picked up from Kelowna earlier in the day.
Hope’s name was Nala when she arrived at the evacuation centre along with hundreds of others, including other pets. She quickly became the mascot for the centre, offering up cuddles, licks and hugs for anyone who needed them over the course of her stay. And she was very quickly renamed Hope.
Now, her owners are wanting to give back to Hope – the town – through a fundraiser for the school.
They have created a GoFundMe called Hope Secondary School Mudslide Fund, which has gathered almost $900 in donations so far. The organizer is listed as Rebecca S. from North Vancouver.
“To all of the volunteer residents from Hope’s Community, and the students at Hope Secondary School, where we were welcomed with open arms for four days; we cannot thank you enough for all the love and support you gave us after the mudslides,” the fundraiser states. “You continue to work tirelessly for the people stuck in Hope and the surrounding communities. You stepped up for people in need, and we are forever grateful.”
She wanted to find a way to thank the town for giving them hope in a time of need.
“There were many students, and alumni at the school giving their time to us,” she said. “We saw kids as young as 10 bringing in clothing, toys and donations. There were so many dogs inside the high school, and even a bunny! All the volunteers made the experience easier, and during the days you could see kids from all over the world and all walks of life playing basketball and soccer together.
“You took the burden off us. It could have been a really stressful time, but all the hard work the volunteers did put smiles on people’s faces.”
She outlined some of the positives that came out of the disaster.
“Hope would run all over the school and everyone wanted to pet and hold her. She was a big stress relief, and became a mascot of Hope. Bringing a lot of joy and laughter. Volunteers worked 24/day for us, and never showed that they were tired (even though they must have been). Local restaurants brought food, including a pizza night from Panago pizza. Residents invited families into their homes to have a comfy place to sleep, and a warm shower. First responders, teachers, councillors, nurses, security and even the local pharmacists made sure we were taken care of. Children even made cards for people to cheer us all up.”
The fundraiser will back toward the Hope Secondary School Leadership program, to help support the hampers students put together for Christmas that go out into the community.
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