Back in 2016, during the Fort McMurray wildfires, when evacuees fled the city in every direction, one man saw a need to help those not lucky enough to reach the evacuation centers. With hundreds of motorists stranded on highways running out of gas and food, Kristopher Kory Mercer, decided to step up and do something about it.
Kristopher and others who quickly joined in to help, would soon be best known as the anonymous people bringing jerry cans of gas, food, water and even diapers to the stranded motorists who had just left everything they own behind to escape the raging wildfires.
But they didn’t stop there, they dug deeper than the media covered and searched for pockets of evacuees who found safe haven in other places, not served by the large evacuation centers. They reached out through social media and a growing network of contacts and found people in need in smaller communities, and camps. They also reached out to the firefighters and people who stayed behind on the front lines.
By the time the 2017 wildfires had thrown British Columbia into a province-wide state of emergency, The Postmen had grown into a large group of non-profiting volunteers who collect, distribute, organize, and deliver donations to those who are in any kind of crisis.
Working with authorities during the BC Wildfires, The Postmen obtained special permits that allowed them to help those who stayed behind to save their homes and even the fire crews on the frontlines.
“Disaster Relief For The People By The People”
What sets The Postmen apart from other aide agencies is that they deliver directly to the people. They find out what is truly needed and work quickly to fill those needs, whether it be food and water for homeowners or Gatorade, eye drops and energy bars for the firefighters.
By the end of 2017, Burns Lake resident Angelika Posselt and Claudelle Yochman of Williams Lake each accepted an award on behalf of The Postmen, The ‘Above and Beyond Award,’ signed by B.C. Premier John Horgan, which is given for acts of selflessness and bravery, for the groups efforts during B.C.’s 2017 wildfire and flood season.
And they don’t just bring food and water. With this spring’s Flooding disasters in BC, The Postmen are “boots on the ground”, with sand bags and shovels and helping homeowners protect their homes.
They reach out and find those who may have fallen through the cracks of all the other aide programs. They use social media to find those in need and help any way they can, even if it is only emotional support or something as simple as dog walkers helping out those who have opened their homes to care for pets.
The Pet Postmen
As they worked hard to help those hit by the BC disasters, the need for a second division had grown abundantly clear. Throughout the province where calls for help from pet and livestock owners needing assistance. Animals were stranded, temporarily relocated, had run off in fear and even stolen during all the chaos.
The Pet Postmen was established to help however it was needed. Building on their existing social media network, they created a venue for arranging transport for stranded animals, helping round up donated feed for those who took them in, spreading the word on lost and stolen pets and livestock.
The Postmen in Saskatchewan
While their first two years have focused on efforts in Alberta and BC, The Postmen have been aware of the need to help Saskatchewan victims of disasters as well, but had not established the network here in our province that was needed to do it right.
Founder, Kristopher Kory Mercer, recently reached out to me to ask for help in raising awareness and expanding their network of volunteers. They need volunteers willing to help with local disasters, locations for drop off centers, trucks to move the donations to where they need to go and, most importantly, volunteers to make it all happen.
North East Saskatchewan Postmen Depot
Co-ordination of a North East Saskatchewan Depot for The Postmen has begun. If you know of anyone who may need assistance you can contact me by calling 306-276-2400 or using one of the links below.
Each Depot runs 100% on Volunteer efforts. We need people to sort, bag, deliver, and distribute. We also need Volunteers to help from their homes for communications. Sometimes our Volunteers are on the road or are in remote Communities and are unable to message and keep track of events so they depend on those Volunteers at home to be their eyes and ears.
In the event of disasters in the region, we will be in need of a location where we can receive, sort and store donated items, both in the Nipawin area and in surrounding communities. If you can help, please contact Joanne Francis at 306-276-2400
If you can help us grow this network here in Saskatchewan , or even wish to join the efforts in any other areas, please contact The Postmen through their website at the links below.
Register now to become a volunteer! https://therealpostmen.com/register
Postmen Website: http://www.therealpostmen.com
Postmen Public Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/316463668803013/
Postmen Main Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/therealpostmen/
Pet Postmen ( a division of The Postmen ): https://www.facebook.com/petpostmen/
The Postmen Media Team is also looking for individuals to be a part of the media team. We are a team of people in a Facebook Chat Group and share important posts to as many different groups, pages, community forums, and other areas that the word can be put out. When there are people in need of help for donations we share these important notices so these people get the help they so desperately need.
Become a Media Team Member! https://thepostmen2016.wixsite.com/disasters/get_involved