London Drugs, Loblaw aid in B.C. wildfire relief effort

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BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada — London Drugs and Loblaw Cos., including its Shoppers Drug Mart chain, are collecting donations and pitching in supplies to help residents affected by wildfires raging around south-central British Columbia.

The province announced a state of emergency on Friday because of the wildfires, and as of Wednesday there were more than 180 fires, which have burned an estimated 78,000 hectares.

So far, the British Columbia wildfires have forced 14,000 people out of their homes due to evacuation orders, and thousands more people — including the city of Williams Lake — are under an alert to leave, published reports said.

British Columbia wildfires 2017

The British Columbia wildfires have burned an estimated 78,000 hectares and forced more than 14,000 people to evacuate their homes.

London Drugs expanded its donation collection for the Red Cross from British Columbia and Alberta to chainwide across western Canada. The retailer said all 80 London Drugs stores are collecting customer donations at checkout to provide aid to the thousands of people evacuated as a result of the fires.

At evacuee centers in Kamloops and Prince George, B.C., London Drugs store managers have delivered supplies to people in need, which continues to grow. The company said it also has initiated on-the-ground support with an incident response team reaching out to local relief agencies.

“We are a B.C.-based, family owned and operated company committed to our communities and all British Columbians,” Clint Mahlman, executive vice president and chief operating officer of London Drugs, said in a statement. “Our incident response center has been monitoring the wildfires closely for the past few days, and we will continue to monitor. We have the staff, trucks, supplies and ability to help wildfire evacuees, and this is exactly what we are going to continue to do.”

London Drugs said it has provided hundreds of community comfort kits to evacuation centers in Kamloops and Prince George, and more supplies are ready to be deployed as needed. Independent charging stations for electronic devices are being provided to the centers.

In addition, the London Drugs pharmacy team in Kamloops and Prince George have been made available to assist remotely where needed. The retailer, too, has made products and supplies readily available to evacuees, including water and other essentials; diapers and feminine care items; and toys, coloring books and other items for childrens.

“We wish to thank all of the people working tirelessly to directly help everyone impacted by the wildfires,” Mahlman added. “We would also like to thank our staff, particularly in Kamloops and Prince George, who have gone above and beyond to help support the evacuees and the evacuee centers in our local communities. Not only have our staff in these centers been compiling care packages for hundreds of evacuees, but the pharmacy team is also going beyond their normal duties and is ready to help people with any respiratory issues and other concerns. At London Drugs, our on-the-ground support teams are ready to assist wherever needed.”

Meanwhile, Loblaw Cos. has been lending support to people impacted by the British Columbia wildfires, including a cash donation to the Canadian Red Cross, the provision of water and food and raising funds at its stores throughout the province.

All Loblaw stores in British Columbia — including Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, Extra Foods, Independent, Loblaws City Market and Wholesale Club — are now accepting cash donations to support wildfire relief efforts.

Customers can also visit Shoppers Drug Mart stores in the province to donate cash or Shoppers Optimum Points online. Loblaw said Shoppers Drug Mart will match all points donated to a maximum of $25,000. Also, the company’s PC Financial unit will provide assistance on a case-by-case basis for customers experiencing issues with their PC Financial MasterCard credit card.

Loblaw added that it will continue to work closely with the Canadian Red Cross, B.C. government and local officials to provide essential food, water, toiletries and pet food to evacuation centers.

“Our thoughts are with our customers, colleagues and those affected by the forest fires in British Columbia,” stated Bob Chant, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Loblaw Cos. “Every day, our store colleagues actively support the communities where our stores operate. Whenever and however we can help, our colleagues are ready to answer a call for assistance.”



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