Merritt food bank unaffected by Kamloops blaze
When the Kamloops Food Bank went up in flames on Aug. 2, members of the Merritt branch wanted to know what they could do to help.
But after an outpouring of support from other communities — and a large contribution from nine-year-old Christian Beatty from Kamloops, who raised 1127 pounds of food and $1,100 — the support from Merritt wasn’t needed.
The Merritt branch relies on the Kamloops Food Bank for much of its donations.
“[One of our members] phoned to see if we could assist, but because there was so much support from this boy and other people, they didn’t need the help,” said Linda Monkman, co-ordinator of the Nicola Valley and District Food Bank. “There was so much generosity that we weren’t impacted much by the fire.
“The donation of thousands of pounds of food by the nine-year-old boy really helped,” she added.
Beatty told CBC Radio that his family uses the food bank and he sympathizes for people who depend on the donations.
“I know how it feels to think that you’re left out and why even try?” he said. “You feel that way and it makes you think there is no other place. It makes you feel like you’re not important to the world.”
The Kamloops location reopened the next day, but had a limited amount of food to donate.
The Kamloops RCMP are still looking for the man they called a “possible suspect.”
The man was seen at the food bank for several hours prior to the storage space going up in flames when more than a month’s worth of supplies was destroyed.
He is described as being non-white, with long hair and holding a red sleeping bag or backpack.
Neighbours also reported seeing him with a bike.
Kamloops Fire Rescue told Kamloops This Week there is no obvious cause of the blaze.