Volunteer centre opens this morning

The need for volunteers continues to grow along with the increasing number of Cariboo wildfire evacuees finding refuge in Prince George.

In light of growing numbers, the city is opening a volunteer centre at 8 a.m. this morning to help recruit, train and deploy volunteers to assist with receiving and supporting evacuees.

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"We need volunteers to help with the initial reception of evacuees, to find out who they are and direct them to any local services they might need," said city spokesperson Michael Kellett.

"The focus could change by next week but that is why we need people who are flexible in skills, interest and also with their time."

A number of shift options are available but volunteers are especially needed during the midnight to 8 a.m. period.

The volunteer centre is being organized by Volunteer PG, a volunteer and referral agency that continues to serve the community.

The total number of registered evacuees to date is at about 3,285.

According to Kellett, this number includes 244 in group lodging, 207 in RV parking, 1477 have found alternative accommodation and 308 have found commercial lodging.

Volunteers will be asked to provide criminal record checks as they train to help manage increased demands in helping those displaced.

"It's a trial like no other for the evacuees," Kellett said. "Our volunteers have shown such intensity and dedication in meeting the challenge for the city with such compassion."

Those interested in volunteering are invited to complete an online application, which will be made available on the city's website.

"We are aware that some individuals expressed interest in volunteering at the CNC Reception Centre. These individuals are urged to complete the online application," said the city's manager of social development Chris Bone.

For those interested in volunteering, the online application is on the city's web site at princegeorge.ca on the Cariboo evacuation webpage.

For anyone wishing to donate to the effort in support of evacuees can do so at donate.redcross.ca or call 1-800-418-1111.

Residents who would like to provide accommodation can do so via Facebook at facebook.com/cityofpg.

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