How Okanagan Restaurants Are Helping People Impacted By The Kelowna Fires

From free food to raising money for recovery efforts, the Okanagan foodie community is coming together in support of evacuees of the Kelowna fires.

Okanagan residents are no strangers to fire. Our valley has earned the nickname Smokanagan and the locals know that summertime also means fire season. Almost to the day, 20 years after the Okanagan Mountain Park fire, a devastating fire erupts in West Kelowna. The combination of wind, dry conditions, vorratious flames and a narrow lake with only one bridge crossing, embers floated up and away, above the Okanagan Lake and landed in portions of Kelowna and Lake Country. These spot fires quickly spread to neighbourhoods like Glenmore and Wilden creating havoc. Quickly, people had to get out.

This included my sister (and contributor of who left on Friday at midnight from her apartment in Lake Country to my home in the upper mission of Kelowna. Ironically, this was the site of the fire 20 years prior. Our neighbourhood was built on top of the ashes. The very park I now take my kids was a base camp for firefighters.

Today there feels like progress as evacuation orders reduce to alerts. Some are even invited back to their properties as the firefighters make progress and cooler temperatures aid in the fight. But the fires affect every aspect of life here in the Okanagan. Aside from my sister Taryn and her significant other, my husband’s job site at the UBC Okanagan campus has been put on hold as 500 firefighters have set up base camp there. Not to mention the many co-workers of his not only affected by evacuations in the Okanagan but also the Shuswap as a major fire also rages there. My kids’ preschool teachers have been upended but no loss of homes yet reported I am happy to write. But among the worry and stress, the community, as it always does, has come together to support each other during the Kelowna fires.

Restaurants Supporting Our Community

Quails’ Gate Winery

Quails’ Gate winery’s culinary team has prepared 600 meals daily for over 300 firefighters! Absolutely stellar work from one of West Kelowna’s most popular and historic wineries. You can support this winery by ordering online and get your bottles shipped to your door.

The Okanagan Chef’s Association

Kelowna’s most talented chefs in the Okanagan came together and created a menu for evacuees, first responders, and industry workers. 235 free delicious and hearty meals were provided while the community came out to donate $500 for Kelowna fire fighters and the SPCA.

In n’ Out Arabic Market

The newly located In n’ Out Arabic Market has been providing free meals for evacuees. So many do not have access to a kitchen so their to-go friendly meals have been essential for families and people who need easy meals as the battle rages on against the Kelowna fires.

North End Community

The sense of community has been strong in the North End brewery district. Places like Red Bird Brewing, Empire Crepe, Pretty Not Bad, have been offering free meals and a safe space to charge your phone and take a breather.
Born to Shake has been providing meals at 50% off and a place to relax.
It wouldn’t be wine country without a free wine tasting! Sandhill Wines is offering free wine tastings for evacuees.
Rustic Reel is offering their space to bring your own food, and recharge as some places shut down and take a break from thinking of these Kelowna fires.

Earl of Sandwich

Located in Capri Centre Mall, Earl of Sandwich is providing free sandwiches for all evacuees and first responders.

Black Rabbit Coffee House

In the lower mission, Black Rabbit Coffee House is offering free black coffee and sandwiches for evacuees. You may recognize this local favourite from the Okanagan Hot Chocolate Fest.

Summerland Smoke Shack

Summerland Smoke Shack, a food truck known for their BBQ, has provided 50 firefighters with sandwiches and are currently seeking more evacuees and firefighters to feed. Please reach out through their social media if you’d like to direct them on where to send food.

How to Help

Kelowna Farmers’ Market

The Kelowna Farmers’ Market is collecting donations for evacuees and first responders. You can drop items off on August 26th from 9 am to 12 pm at their usual market location across from Orchard Park Mall.
You can donate market gift cards or give non-perishable items, hygiene essentials, baby supplies, first aid and water or electrolyte drinks.

Mamas for Mamas

You can find an updated request for donations on the Mamas for Mamas social media. Hygiene items and snacks are in high demand as are gift cards to local grocery stores. Mamas for Mamas has been an invaluable resource for families in need during this difficult time. Click here to find out how you can help from volunteering to donations.

Central Okanagan Food Bank

The Central Okanagan Food Bank was the first resource for evacuees in need for food. As much as they appreciate donations such as fresh produce, non-perishable items and more, they are in need of monetary donations so that they can get exactly what people need in their hands now. From diapers to ready to eat foods that do not need kitchens, I ask that you please donate here.

We also suggest following NothingButJason on Instagram for some amazing interviews from local entrepreneurs and community members doing extraordinary things.

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