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Tsawout First Nation launches fundraiser for family after fire destroys home

Fundraiser looks to raise $30,000 for a down payment
Tsawout First Nation has launched a fundraiser to help Anna Walkus and her family after a Thursday morning fire destroyed their home. (Black Press Media file photo)

Tsawout First Nation has launched a fundraising campaign to help the family of a local educator who lost her home in a Thursday morning fire.

The GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up for the family of Anna Walkus, who works part-time at Tsawout Learning House. Walkus works with children, teaching language and culture, while serving them snacks when they arrive. “We want to help her back onto her feet and assist her in recovering from this considerable setback,” it reads.

The campaign aims to raise $30,000 for a down-payment on a new home at Tsawout First Nation. As of Tuesday morning, more than $10,000 had been donated to the campaign.

RELATED: Thursday morning fire destroys Saanich Peninsula home

“They basically left (the home) with the clothes on their backs,” said Wayne Helgason, director of special projects for Tswaout First Nation and its former band manager. “The fire grew very quickly and it is a complete write-off and the fire department has been given the authority to demolish the building.”

While the impacted individuals are currently living with family members, Tsawout First Nation faces a housing crunch.

“We have many homes where they are three, four generations living together, because of a challenged housing situation,” said Helgason.

Helgason said the individuals have received support from Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization as well as the Nation itself.

“We are providing any support that the family requests,” he said. “Luckily, her eldest son lives (in Tsawout First Nation) and they are staying with them temporarily. But we simply don’t have any surplus housing to provide.”

Helgason said the fire has traumatized the family, a situation made worse by its timing, less than one month before Christmas.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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