PWRDF’s In-Canada Emergency Response

An Anglican Camp, destroyed by a wildfire.

While we often think of the Primate’s World Relief Development Fund (PWRDF) as an Anglican agency that helps the developing world, it is increasingly assisting those dealing with natural disasters in Canada. Begun in 1958 as a response to the coal mine disaster in Nova Scotia, PWRDF is once again helping Canadians in need.

“In recent years, Canada has experienced an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Wildfires, hurricanes, and floods have affected thousands of families and individuals. In response to unprecedented wildfires from coast to coast, PWRDF launched a separate fund for in-Canada emergency response in 2023. This fund will allow PWRDF to respond quickly when a diocese asks for support, rather than wait to raise funds for individual disasters.” 

Dioceses can request short-, medium- and longer- term support depending on their specific needs, including:

• emergency accommodations

• gift cards to purchase food, water, clothing, and other essentials

• emergency services such as washrooms, generators, or charging stations

• counselling and post-trauma supports 

• locally identified long-term recovery activities to help rebuild community assets and increase community resilience

One Canadian diocese that benefitted from the In-Canada Emergency Response Fund in 2023 was the Diocese of Kootenay in BC.  A grant of $5,000.00 helped cover immediate expenses when 95% of the Okanagan Anglican Camp (OAC) was destroyed during the McDougall Creek wildfire. 

Located just north of Kelowna on the Okanagan Lake, Camp OAC was a valuable community space for over 70 years. It was enjoyed by thousands of campers during the summer, and by those who came for family, school, or community get-togethers during the off-season.

In a letter to the Diocese after the fire in August 2023, Archbishop Lynne McNaughton wrote: “It was daunting to view the scope of the fire. Buildings simply [became] small piles of twisted metal. The wooden dining hall that has stood for 70 years now is a lonely-looking stone fireplace standing by itself. The beautiful “Windsong” where we had community gatherings and joyful dances is gone.”  The staff quarters, residence building, crafts and program building, and the dock were all damaged, while the camp had to be evacuated.

As the fire approached the camp, the Diocese rented vehicles to safely transport and relocate all campers and staff who were onsite. High winds increased the speed of the fire, but everyone got out safely.

This $5,000 PWRDF grant assisted the Diocese in recouping some of those vehicle rental costs, as well as with plans to rebuild the camp. The grant also provided funds to reimburse Kelowna parishes that distributed emergency food to evacuated individuals and families, as well as support for clergy and families evacuated from nearby communities during the fires.

For information on accessing this fund see:

To donate, see or phone 416-822-9083 or 1 (866) 308-7973

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