March 7, 2022
The November 2021 floods impacted thousands of Southern BC residents. In the aftermath, flood survivors in the agricultural region of the Fraser Valley are struggling with homelessness, food insecurity and trauma.
The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, in conjunction with Southern Railway of British Columbia (SRY), Seaspan and other Washington Companies, has awarded a $500,000 grant to United Way British Columbia (UWBC). The grant will help Fraser Valley residents affected by BC flooding recover and move forward in their lives by working in and with local communities to address ongoing food, trauma and mental health needs through the United for the Fraser Valley: Community Re-builder Initiative.
“We are deeply committed to the communities where SRY and Seaspan operate and where many of our employees live. The storms and floods in southern BC late last year have devastated the Fraser Valley region and left thousands of residents with the daunting task of rebuilding their homes, lives and businesses. This donation from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation will provide much needed additional support and services to help rebuild and unite affected communities. United Way British Columbia, as our trusted partner, is well positioned to coordinate these efforts,” said Kyle Washington, Executive Chairman of Seaspan.
The United for the Fraser Valley: Community Re-builder Initiative launches Local Love microgrants and Community Re-builders in prioritized communities including those of Indigenous peoples, farmers and migrant workers. Microgrants are available for residents to support local rebuilding efforts such as the transportation of food, household goods and essential items and community gatherings to reduce isolation and promote wellbeing. Community Re-builders will be Abbotsford and Chilliwack residents who connect those in need with support resources and services. Mental health assistance for the farming and agricultural community will also be funded.
“This extraordinary gift from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, in conjunction with Southern Railway and the Washington Companies, allows us to help Fraser Valley communities and residents affected by last fall’s floods,” said Michael McKnight, President and CEO, United Way British Columbia. “Over the next year, these funds will help thousands of residents to recover and rebuild their lives through a variety of programs and vital supports.”