Distance is no hindrance to helping out fellow British Columbians for Daniel Burkholder and his family.
Daniel, his wife Carla and their three children drove almost 800 kilometres from Burns Lake to Merritt on Sunday to help residents who are still recovering from last November’s devastating floods.
The family is supporting the work of Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) Canada, an Ontario-based non-profit organization that sent crews to the Merritt area to help clean up debris remaining on peoples’ yards from when the Coldwater River burst its banks.
“I’m helping take care of about 11 guys here this week out on the job,” said Daniel, who works as a customer service representative at Starland Supply. “There’s a few of us helping to make food and feed them and making sure the guys are well taken care of.”
He’s also conducting some chaplain roles for the crew.
Nine of the crew members are from Alberta and two are from Ontario. They’re using a mini excavator and a skid loader in their work, Daniel added.
Even though it has been almost six months since the floods hit the area, Daniel said he thinks the large amount of damage and disruption could take several more months to clear up.
“There’s a lot of dirt and debris that the river has washed into peoples’ yards and basements,” he observed. “I was at one home yesterday and the two homes beside his were condemned. If I understand correctly, that means they’ll have to be destroyed. Another guy, a home floated right off the foundation and there’s a vehicle on his property and all u can see is the tires sticking out of the mud.”
Daniel and his family are staying in the local Crossroads Community Church and eat their meals there, while the CAM crew sleeps in four RVs set up nearby.
While he said he’s having a good time supporting the CAM crew in their work, he admits his wife’s cooking skills are stronger than his.
“I think we’re having chicken and potatoes for dinner tonight. We’re leaving the ladies to that,” he said, with a laugh. “I just took (some) coffees out to the guys on the job. (And) I’m helping around the kitchen.”
The Burkholders plan to help out in Merritt for about a week and then they will return to Burns Lake.
“We’re not doing this for our own glory,” Daniel said. “(This) is a great way to show God’s love to people and show people that we care about them. And treat people like we would like to be treated as if we were ever in need like that.”