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Supports for Behchokǫ̀ evacuees and how YK residents can help

A Williams Engineering photo of Yellowknife's multiplex
A Williams Engineering photo of Yellowknife's multiplex.

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With Yellowknife acting as a centre for residents who left Behchokǫ̀ this week, many residents are looking for ways to support evacuees.

We’ve created a list of support efforts for those available to offer aid. This is not an exhaustive list. If you know of a resource we’re missing, email our news team to let us know.

Multiplex Evacuation Centre

The Yellowknife multiplex is currently acting as an evacuation centre for Behchokǫ̀ evacuees. They are asking that all evacuees register in the lobby of the multiplex, including people staying elsewhere.

People who register will receive a wristband that will give you free access to the fieldhouse and city transit, as well as meals offered at the multiplex. Evacuees can also access internet and computers at the Yellowknife public library, and can receive visitor parking passes from the City of Yellowknife.

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The Tlichǫ̀ government will be handing out $100 gift cards to Behchokǫ̀ evacuees starting on Thursday at 1pm.

Bruno’s Pizza will be delivering free pizza for children at the multiplex at 4:30pm on Thursday.

The Tlichǫ̀ government is hosting free playgroups for children and youth on Thursday and Friday from 5-9pm at the Fieldhouse.

A live music event with David Gon will be held at the multiplex on Thursday from 7-9pm.

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Meals are being offered at the multiplex for all evacuees, including those not staying at the centre. Breakfast is held from 8am-10am, lunch from 11:45am-1:15pm, dinner from 5pm-6:30pm, and snacks all day until 9:30pm.

Counselling and wellness services are being offered to Behchokǫ̀ residents at the multiplex. More information can be found on the this Facebook page.

Cody Erasmus, coach and counsellor, is providing counselling for Behchokǫ̀ residents at the Hotıì ts’eeda office and the multiplex. For more information, evacuees are asked to email or call Cody at 867-492-4053.

A drumming and prayer gathering will be held at the multiplex evacuation centre at 7pm on Wednesday. All evacuees and Yellowknife residents are welcome, and those with drums are encouraged to participate.

Donations

Monetary donations are being accepted by United Way NWT. These donations are one of the most effective way to meet the individual needs of displaced residents.

Those wanting to donate physical goods can be drop supplies labeled “fire relief” off at the Yellowknife Salvation Army Thrift Shop.

The Multiplex evacuation centre is accepting donations of new unopened items for basic care needs including: shampoo, toiletries, towels, lotions, deodorant, face cloths, etc. Residents are being asked to not donate food, clothing and most other donations to the evacuation centre.

Yellowknifers with camping gear to donate can drop supplies off at Polar Tech. Evacuees needing camping gear can ask for Eric at Polar Tech to receive the donations.

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A GoFundMe page has been created for the families whose homes were lost overnight. The funds raised will go directly to the families impacted.

Community aids

A Facebook group has been created for evacuation updates and support efforts. People who are able to offer support or are in need of support are encouraged to post to the group.

Fresh Cutes by Abell is offering 20% off barbering services for evacuees.

The Yellowknife Women’s Society Family Connections space is hosting drop-in hours Thursday and Friday from 9am-3pm as well as a donation room with items including children’s clothing and toys. Taxi vouchers are available for those in need of transportation. The organization will also be holding an indoor yard sale on Saturday from 10am-2pm. A full schedule can be found on Facebook.

Moms, Boobs and Babies will be open in their Centre Square Mall space (next to the library elevator) from 12-2 on Thursday for drop-in play sessions for young kids. Books and toys for young kids are also available for evacuees to loan.

Stanley Boxing and Fitness Yellowknife is opening their classes to evacuees. Their schedule can be found on their website.

The Yellowknife Golf Club is offering free golfing for evacuees for the duration of the evacuation.

The GNWT is asking those with a Fred Henne Park reservation for the upcoming weekend that are willing to give up their campsite for evacuees to call the park’s gatehouse at 867-920-2472 or contact them by email.

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If you are an evacuee staying at Fred Henne who needs camping gear, reach out to Stephanie at 867-446-6430.

The NWT Career Centre is offering internet, phone charging stations and washroom access to evacuees. The centre is open from 9am-5pm Monday through Friday. The centre is at the Diamond Plaza building, 5204 Franklin Ave.

Bella Dance Academy is offering free drop-in classes for Behchokǫ̀ evacuees. Classes include different types of dance such as jazz and yoga. The schedule can be found on the academy’s Facebook page.

Health services

Evacuees with specific needs due to a disability are encouraged to reach out to the NWT Disabilities Council for support.

Evacuees who are pregnant or postpartum and may be needing support are asked to reach out to the Northern Birthwork Collective by email or at 867-686-1435.

Reflexology with Heather is offering free foot care for Elders, seniors and those with disabilities from 1-3pm at the multiplex on Thursday. A sign up sheet can be found at the multiplex.

For non-evacuees feeling the impact of the wildfire situation, the NWT Health and Social Services Authority has mental health and community wellness supports available. Find the service that best suits you on their website. If you’re in a crisis, you are encouraged to call the 24/7 NWT Help Line at 1-800-661-0844, or, in the case of an emergency, 911.

Food services

Reanna LA is at the multiplex taking names and addresses of elders to provide traditional food and meals to. Those wanting to sign up can do so at the multiplex or by calling 867-444-4638.

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The NWT Culinary Festival, set to take place Thursday through Sunday, is changing some of its events to help provide meals for evacuees. This will include a fish fry, originally to be held at Somba K’e Park, which will now take place at or near the multiplex on Friday, as well as a Sunday dinner for evacuees. More information and updates can be found on the NWT Culinary Festival website.

Coyotes Family Steakhouse is offering evacuees 10 percent off all orders until further notice.

Pet services

Veterinarians Without Borders and the NWT SPCA are seeking aid from Yellowknifers to help board Behchokǫ̀ evacuees’ pets. Those able to foster animals are asked to contact Premier Caroline Cochrane’s constituency office.

Dr Michelle Tuma, Veterinarians Without Borders’ northern Canada veterinary specialist, says there are currently at least 12 dogs and three cats on their way to Yellowknife from Behchokǫ̀. She encourages those able to help foster the animals to reach out to her.

A Facebook group dedicated to reuniting Behchokǫ̀ pets with their family has been created. Those with missing pets are asked to post photos and descriptions of their animals as well as their contact information.

Qimmiq Kennels has limited spaces for evacuee dogs and the SPCA has secured funding to cover the costs associated with these services. Free dog food is also available from the business for those keeping their pets with them. Those in need of these services are asked to stop by the kennel from 7:30am-11am or 2-5:30pm Monday to Friday.

Highway 3

Currently, Highway 3 is closed between Behchokǫ̀ and Yellowknife. Updates can be found on the GNWT’s website.

Fort Providence Territorial Park is open for evacuees heading south. Showers and other amenities are available.