Esquimalt bands together to help Cowichan family devastated by windstorm

Esquimalt bands together to help Cowichan family devastated by windstorm

WATCH: A family from North Cowichan say they are “humbled” after hundreds of people came together in Esquimalt on Saturday to support them. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

Although a rainbow adorns the sign outside a community kitchen in Esquimalt, it’s inside where all the luck is being felt by a family from North Cowichan.

“I can’t really comprehend how many people really care and how much they’re putting in to help us,” said Lester Joe.

For the first time in 26 years, Lester Joe and his family couldn’t spend Christmas Day in their home after a massive tree destroyed nearly 80 per cent of the house during December’s massive windstorm.

Once vacant, it was burglarized and thieves made off with all of their gifts.

The house will need to be rebuilt which will cost thousands of dollars and is expected to take months to complete.

On Saturday, members of the Esquimalt community came together to help the family get back on their feet.

“It could have been any one of us,” explained Doug Bowen, who organized the breakfast fundraiser.

Volunteers of the United and Anglican churches put on a breakfast fundraiser at the Esquimalt United Church in support of the family of six.

“It’s nice to be part of something like this that can give back to the community,” Bowen explained. “It’s so nice to help a family, through no fault of their own, got caught in a really tough situation.”

On the menu were pancakes, sausages and all the fixings.

Bowen says they expect to serve around 250 meals.

The Rainbow Kitchen, which is attached to the church, donated the space for the event.

“When I heard about [the Joe family] I thought anyway I can help out so here I am,” explained Betty Harkins who attended the breakfast.

“We need good news,” said Elder Skip Joe of the Songhees First Nation. “When you see the community pulling together like that you know there’s still human beings around.”

All proceeds will be donated directly to the Joe family.

They’re currently in temporary housing, but since news has spread about their situation, they’ve been offered a place to rent until their home is rebuilt.

“It shows my grandchildren how much people really care for each other,” Joe said. “It really makes me feel good inside to see this.”

A GoFundMe campaign has also been set-up for the family to help cover expenses.

Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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