Storage Facility Customers Receive a $3,500 grant through Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund After Flooding Causes Significant Damage to Stored Belongings

28 April 2022Grants & Funding, News & Announcements

After an atmospheric river caused devastating flooding in Sumas Prairie in November 2021, many residents were left with significant damage to their homes and businesses. But it wasn’t only the residents of Sumas Prairie that were directly impacted. Over 110 customers local to Abbotsford and surrounding areas had their belongings stored in ground-level containers at a commercial storage facility in the flood zone.  As the flooding inundated Sumas Prairie, toxic water infiltrated about 20% of the containers, causing extensive damage to the contents.
       
Photo Credit: Province of British Columbia
It wasn’t just a few pieces of old furniture or some extra clothes stored for many of these customers. Sadly, it was a majority of their personal belongings, from photos of great grandparents who served in the war to specialty furniture that had been passed down for many generations. The customers of this commercial storage facility lost some of their most sentimental belongings that week.
After the impacted customers realized the extent of the damage, they also faced the difficult reality that they wouldn’t qualify for most financial aid after being denied government funding and insurance coverage. Thankfully the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund (ADRF) was created to fill funding gaps like this one by directly supporting charitable organizations, as well as businesses and farmers. When the coalition partners, the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, the Abbotsford Community Foundation and the University of the Fraser Valley, heard about their situation, a funding stream was established through the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce just for these affected commercial storage customers.  There were more than 100 applicants and the ADRF was able to provide a grant of $3500 to each of them to help cover the cost of their losses.
However, unfortunately for many, no amount of money could replace some of the contents they lost in the flooding that week. One senior resident of Abbotsford shared her devastation when she learned that her husband’s urn was damaged, leaving his ashes spread throughout the toxic floodwater. She also experienced a significant loss of her equipment that was being temporarily stored in the container while she moved. From an adjustable bed valued at $2,300 to a walk-in tub valued at a minimum of $1,000, she lost thousands of dollars worth of equipment that she requires daily due to her disability.
Another customer, Amparo Munoz, shared the challenges she faced. Shortly after the flooding subsided and Munoz was able to open her container to assess the damage, she wrote in an email that “for the first time, I was able to start unpacking the container, and it was brutal.” She continued saying, “We lost everything; everything is in water or ice.” Lastly, Munoz shared “that it was so sad watching all you have worked for years is gone.”
       
Photo Credit: Amparo Munoz
Despite the immense loss many of these flood victims faced, they have shared how incredibly thankful they are for the funds. This would not have been possible without the thousands of businesses and individuals who donated to the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund, and the support of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and the University of the Fraser Valley. This story s a great example of how this fund is helping to fill some of the gaps so the community can continue to focus on recovery.
To learn more about the ADRF’s charitable organization funding stream, click here.
To learn more about the ADRF’s businesses and farmers funding steam, click here.
 

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