Members of the Sooke Rotary Club are planning a bottle drive to raise money for more emergency repsonse tents and equipment. (Contributed)

Sooke Rotary bottle drive helps prepare for disasters

Funds will help to purchase emergency tents and equipment

The Sooke Rotary Club will hold what it hopes will become an annual bottle drive to help fund the purchase of disaster aid emergency kits.

And it’s counting on the help of volunteers to make the drive a success.

“On [Aug. 10] starting at 8 a.m., we’ll need sorters at Evergreen Centre, volunteers to canvas the community for cans and bottles, and general assistance with things like the sale of hot dogs at the event,” said John Topolniski, the past-president of the Rotary Club of Sooke.

The funds raised through the event go toward the purchase of emergency kits that include large tents that can each accommodate up to 10 people and all the equipment that those people would need to survive after a disaster, including a stove, cooking pots, plates, utensils, blankets, first aid kit, and emergency lighting.

The kits do not include food or water.

RELATED: Rotary is involved in many good works

“It’s always better to be prepared for a disaster than to try to react to one after it occurs,” Topolniski said.

“Last year we raised money at the Rotary auction dinner and were able to purchase three of the kits. Two were donated to Sooke Fire and Rescue and the third went to the Juan de Fuca Fire and Rescue who sent it to Jordan River, where it was most needed.”

The tents are very versatile as they can be joined together in series, a feature that allows them to be used as makeshift hospitals, command centres, or even temporary schools in the wake of a community disaster.

Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount, whose department received two of the emergency kits, said any assistance that his service can receive to prepare for a natural disaster is appreciated.

“It serves to complement the emergency preparedness programs that we’re always working on and improving,” Mount said.

“You can never be prepared enough, and we are constantly looking for grants and resources to ensure that we are as ready to address whatever disaster might arise.”

Topolniski said Rotary International has distributed the tents all over the world during the past few years and is proud to say the club has managed to help in the wake of hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, or wildfires.

The bottle drive will take place between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Evergreen Mall.

Sooke Fire Rescue Service will have its Old ‘42 fire truck on display and hot dogs and cold drinks will be available throughout the day.

“All the funds from this bottle drive will be going to the purchase of these kits. They cost $1,000 a piece and how many we can buy depends on how much money is raised,” Topolniski said.

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