In this file photo, firefighters drag a hose to battle a fire near Bendalong, Australia, Jan. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Local Lions Club raises funds for Australia fire relief

Each member of the Kettle River Lions Club pledged $10 to go towards relief efforts

The Kettle River Lions Club, 31 members strong, is stepping up to support communities on the other side of the world, just as other Lions clubs did in 2015 when Washington and B.C. were burning with forest fires.

This week, the local community group made a pledge of $10 each – $310 in total – to send to their Australian counterparts, who will then use the money as needed to support relief efforts in their area.

As of Jan. 10, fires in Australia had scorched approximately 100,000 square kilometres of the country, amounting to a burn area that put together would cover a vast rectangle of southern B.C. – from Vancouver, east to Cranbrook and north to Kamloops.

“When we had our fires here in 2015,” said Lori Kirkham of the Kettle River Lions, “[The Lions Club International Foundation] came up with money to help us, so it kind of goes in a circle.”

While Kirkham said that the Lions money in 2015 went primarily south of the border, where communities were harder hit than the West Boundary, she said that the international support of the organization means that the support can be there when a need is demonstrated.

This most recent fundraising blitz came from a challenge issued by Lions International Director for Canada Allan Hunt, via Facebook. Lions clubs from Okotoks, Alta., to Lucan, Ireland, answered and have pledged funds as well.

Locally, the Lions support initiatives like Christmas hampers, school meal programs and the Community Easter Dinner, among others. The club’s next major event, the Community Easter Dinner, will be held this spring.

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