One year after a wildfire ran through Lytton, children at the local Stein Valley Nlakapamux School were gifted care packages and messages from fellow students around the province.
In late June, each child at the school received a card with a customized piece of art made by those in Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, Vernon, Maple Ridge and Qualicum Beach, as well as a few books for summer reading.
The packages were a part of Art from the heART, a project led by artist and retired child programmer Diane Moran,
Moran, who now lives in Qualicum Beach, has been using art as a medium of support after natural disasters since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of the United States.
Moran’s previous projects typically featured large banners to uplift the communities they were sent to, however, art from the heART program offers a more individualized connection between the person making the card and its recipient.
The cards all feature a pre-written standard message and a piece of art on the back, drawn by the sender, Moran told Black Press Media.
“In times of crisis, it’s nice to know that there’s someone out there who is thinking of you.”
Also an avid reader, Moran has partnered with Scholastic Canada to send books to affected communities. The company agreed to match Moran’s donation, and they collectively donated $800 worth of books to Lytton children.
“Books can be an escape in times like these,” said Moran. “But [they] can also be lost quite easily in fires and floods.”
As the frequency and intensity of natural disasters continues to rise, Moran hopes to build a stockpile of books and cards to send to victims of natural disasters immediately after they take place.
In addition to delivering the packages to Lytton, Moran has been working with with BC Airlift Emergency Response Operations, an emergency relief service organization, to create a collection of material that can be sent out quickly and efficiently in times of crisis.
Individuals interested in supporting Moran’s work can visit her website or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.