"It's a big team effort here," says the director of a B.C. camp after taking in over 100 people stranded near Hope, B.C.
Dustin Siemens grew up in Altona, Manitoba, but has lived in B.C. for a few years. He is the Summer Camp Director at Camp Squeah just north of Hope, B.C. where he and his wife and their children live year-round.
"It's going really well. It's a sunny day today. We're feeling good compared to a lot of stuff that's going on around us," says Siemens.
He's referring to the fact that the town of Hope has thousands of people stranded as all the bridges and highways coming in and out have been washed away because of torrential rains this past Sunday and Monday.
"Every day we've had more and more people find us to come and stay because there have been lots of people staying in churches and schools, sleeping on the floor. We're a camp and retreat centre so we've got beds."
As of yesterday, the camp had 90 people stay overnight and Siemens is expecting an additional 80 to join by this evening. As no one can access the nearest town or city, getting enough food becomes an issue.
"We were able to pull some stuff out of the freezer for the first couple of days. We're starting to get food distributed to us as well but I don't actually know where it's coming from. Right now we have a plan for today and we'll see what happens tomorrow."
As the camp hasn't been affected by the flooding other than isolating it from the community over, Siemens shares that it's been great to be able to help people.
"For me, it's really exciting to see our place being utilized well to help people. The last couple of years here with COVID has been really hard on camps. We depend on having retreats and gathering people together to support our summer ministry and we can't do much of that. So to see this space being utilized right now is exciting to know that it's helping people."
During this time, offering shelter to people has also been stressful for Siemens and his staff. But some of the people lodging have started to help out as well.
"It's a big team effort here. We've been blessed to see a lot of the families that arrived the first night that have said they want to help too. They're jumping in and helping wash dishes and clean up the lodge. It's great to see the community working together."
Siemens asks for people to pray over the emergency situation in B.C.
"Pray for continued safety. There are lots of people that are working hard trying to clear the roads. Pray that those who are coming to us get the rest they need and can feel safe. They've been in a weird spot and there's some trauma in that. Pray that they would have the patience to sit and feel refreshed and be safe again."
There is no news yet as to when people will be able to get back to their homes, or when the roads will be fixed.
"I expect one road will be open in not too long. But we're trying to prepare a day or two, a week at a time."