A Sylvan Lake woman’s search for her missing sister is being aided by the community and a local business.
Shaelene Bell, a 24-year-old mother of two from Chilliwack, B.C., is the sister of Sylvan Lake resident Steph Pollard. She has been missing since Jan. 30.
Bell left her home around 8 or 8:30 p.m. to go for a drive in her new car, and never returned home. A few days later her vehicle was found by police, but she was still missing.
“She left her boys at her boyfriend’s place. She had just gotten a new car and she was really excited to go out for a drive,” Pollard said. “Her boyfriend encouraged her to go out for a drive while he put the boys to bed.”
Since then search and rescue has been out a few times looking for Bell, and community members in Chilliwack have done their own searches and handed out flyers.
Pollack describes her sister as “smart funny and beautiful.”
“She is my best friend… We talk multiple times a day. Not knowing where she is or what happened is torture,” Pollard said.
Here in Sylvan Lake, the community is doing what they can to support Pollard and her family during this difficult time.
Staff at Our Lady of the Rosary School, where two of Pollard’s children attend school, have been supportive and understanding during this time.
Pollard says the school has reached out and asked what they can do to help.
Additionally, friends and neighbours have stepped up to lend a helping hand as well.
“Early on we went out to help in the search… Our oldest son is 21 and then we have four kids under 10, so he watched the kids while we went out.
“Our neighbours brought over meals for them, because four kids is a lot for a 21-year-old, and the school sent over snack packs for the kids,” explained Pollard.
A local business is also doing what they can. Main Street Eatery is selling cupcakes to raise money for the continued search of Bell and the care of her two children.
Main Street Eatery is donating 50 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of the cupcakes, decorated in yellow and pink.
“The yellow represents the recognized colour for missing people and the sprinkles are pink which we are told are Shaelene’s favourite colour,” said Jennifer Belanger, manager of Main Street Eatery.
Each cupcake is packaged in a box with a missing persons sticker listing Shaelene’s details.
The sale od the cupcakes is part of the cafe’s “Made With Love – Giving Back Program.”
“Shaelene’s sister, Steph Pollard, lives in Sylvan Lake – and our team just couldn’t imagine what it feels like to have a love one go missing. We just wanted to help.
“Our hope is that not only will we raise money, but the missing stickers and posts will help to spread the word farther and help bring awareness. You just never know who may know something,” said Belanger.
Pollard says she is grateful for the love and support the community has shown her and her family.
Pollard and her family even went to Main Street Eatery and bought a few cupcakes themselves.
“It was important for us to bring our family down to buy the cupcakes,” Pollard said. “We wanted to show our kids that this is what you do when someone is in trouble or needs help. This is community.”
She says the support shown to her family has been amazing.
“It just means the world to us. This is the hardest thing our family has ever gone through.”
Bell is described as having bleached blonde hair and brown eyes. She is five-foot-two and weighs 95 pounds. RCMP ask anyone with information to call the police at 604-792-4611 or dial Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
Cupcakes will be sold at Main Street Eatery until March 16, and are selling out daily. Belanger recommends pre-ordering if possible.
Additionally, a Go Fund Me has been set up, with the goal of raising $20,000, to help support Bell’s children.