Rabbi Falik Schtroks of the Centre for Judaism of the Fraser Valley/Chabad with one cartful of the donations that were flown to flood victims. (photo from Centre for Judaism)
One of the often-quoted phrases heard in the Centre for Judaism of the Fraser Valley/Chabad is “A little light dispels a lot of darkness.” So, when darkness, in the form of devastating floods, hit parts of the Fraser Valley and other parts of British Columbia, Rabbi Falik and Simie Schtroks took it as their cue to spread light.
“Without knowing yet how we would get the food over to those in crisis, I put out a call to the community to bring non-perishable, ready-to-eat, nourishing food items,” said Simie Schtroks. “Meanwhile, I was in touch with MPs, MLAs and pastors in the impacted regions, as well as various pilots of small planes. I was told by the secretary for MP Randeep Sarai that they had done the first airlift and people were literally lined up for the food at a gas station. Snow had begun to fall, so they dropped the food to be distributed and returned immediately, planning to go back in as soon as the weather improved. The imperative for a collection became even stronger as a new storm was threatening more flooding.”
At least one of the families evacuated from Merritt was from the Jewish community. They were stuck in Kamloops for the week but at least they were in a motel, said Schtroks.
“With the help of an anonymous donor,” she continued, “we managed to purchase caseloads of items that would be very helpful.”
Although the centre was in the midst of producing various Chanukah programs at the time, they stopped what they were doing in order to organize the items and get them to a volunteer pilot at the Langley airport.
“We are very proud of our small Jewish community with a big heart, who came forth to help their neighbours,” said Schtroks. “May G-d bless everyone and keep us all safe. Our hope is that we brought at least a bit of light and hope to Hope, as well as to those evacuated from Mission, Princeton [and other areas].”
– Courtesy Centre for Judaism of the Fraser Valley/Chabad