It was a wet summer for many Canadians, and Yorkton, Sask., got it worse than most. On July 1, heavy rain overwhelmed the sewer system in the town of 15,000, resulting in some 70 percent of homes taking in water. Yorkton’s mayor declared a state of emergency; Alice Peters, a member of Parkland Community Church, organized a chili supper.
Seeing the destruction at a friend’s house, where water covered a foot-and-a-half of the main floor, and hearing “unbelievable” stories from Red Cross workers, Peters responded, “We’ve got to do something as a church.”
With the pastor away on holidays, Peters brought the idea to council, and the congregation readily agreed to raise money for Red Cross cleanup efforts. Several congregation members, including Peters, experienced water damage themselves, but all chipped in to host a fundraising supper July 8, one week after the rain. One volunteer from the community with no connection to the church baked four dozen buns after hearing about the event on the radio.
Approximately 100 people came through the doors of the church hall to buy supper, raising $1,436 for the Red Cross. It was a come-and-go event with no formal program, though a representative of the Red Cross made a presentation. “It opened the eyes of everyone,” about how extensive the damage had been, said Peters.
“It was a good experience,” said Peters. Although she doesn’t wish flooded basements on anyone, “we were really affected, and it made us want to reach out.”
Pastor Brian Ray is excited that the congregation planned the whole event without his help. The church dining hall, which hosted the event, had recently been redone. “I’ve been asking God how we can put ourselves on the map in this community,” says Ray. The answer, it seems, came in a flood.