NEWS
07/14/2017 15:49 EDT | Updated 07/16/2017 16:42 EDT

Williams Lake coffee shop owner helps feed community amid forest fire crisis

While many businesses have shut down in Williams Lake, one small coffee shop is still going strong.

Sue Lachance, owner of New World Coffee and Tea House, says with plenty of mouths still to feed, she wants to be the last to leave.

"At the beginning, I think people weren't really sure whether we were open or not, because so many businesses have had to close due to lack of staff," she said.

"But as they've realized we're open, we've been pretty much inundated."

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Staff from nearby Joey's Grill and an "army of volunteers" have been providing their skills in the kitchen to feed crews of volunteer organizations, locals and refugees, Lachance told Early Edition host Stephen Quinn.

"A lot of people have been unable to go to work. The people that remain in the city, they're getting a little restless, so they're coming in to get a nice lunch and visit," she said.

The mood around town is optimistic, but the community is on high alert, listening for their signal to leave.

"We're all kind of living out of our vehicles right now, ourselves included. We've got everything packed and ready to go in a split second."

If the call does come in for Williams Lake residents to evacuate, Lachance said she may request to stay so she can continue to fuel the crews who come through with a good meal.

But for the time being, Lachance is offering the community a place to congregate and a hearty bowl of soup: Borscht is Friday's special.

With files from the CBC's The Early Edition