Volunteers serve lunch to community members, including those without homes, on a cold, windy Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

Volunteers serve lunch to community members, including those without homes, on a cold, windy Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

Lunches in Salmon Arm fill need by providing warmth, support, welcome meal

Community volunteers, service providers say they want to ensure access to resources during cold snap

The temperature hovered between –5C and –10C, fortifying an icy wind as people sat around propane fire pits, behind the protection of tarps, eating a tasty lunch.

This was a meal served on Feb. 8 in the parking lot behind the Crossroads Free Methodist Church and near the School District 83 admin building in Salmon Arm. Meals have been provided by volunteers for months on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at noon.

People came and went, some who were neighbours and were just there for a little healthy food and conversation, others who have the added difficulties that go with living rough.

Although the temperature hadn’t yet dropped to about –20C as it did Monday night, one man said he was managing to stay warm in a tent. Volunteers tried to give him an extra coat, but he said he was warm enough in his hoodie.

Read more: From November – Online info session coming up for Salmon Arm’s new affordable housing units

Read more: Funding approved for Salmon Arm homelessness outreach worker

Another man told the Observer he had been couch surfing, something he was grateful for as the temperature dropped. However, he didn’t want to wear out his welcome. He spends some nights outside.

He said he’s been in Salmon Arm for about six years, and things are expensive. Getting a place is tough and he’s pleased with the housing that’s being built by BC Housing and the local Canadian Mental Health Association.

He answered with an emphatic “yes” when asked if he’s worried about the cold.

“To me, I’m getting older, I’m like 52, and the cold it hurts. It’s very painful, it’s like fire.”

He has a leg injury as well. “It’s just hard, it’s all downright hard.”

He said the pandemic means there is no longer any place to charge a phone and washrooms are scarce, particularly downtown.

He explained he’s had some difficulties with the homeless shelter so he can no longer go there.

Read more: City of Salmon Arm erects fence around plaza so people can’t camp there

Read more: Freezing cold emphasizes need for drop-in centre for Salmon Arm’s homeless

Although he knows the pandemic makes things difficult, he would love to see some kind of drop-in centre where people could at least have a chance to warm up.

“Unless you’ve got money, you’re not getting in anywhere. To sit down for coffee, to sit down to warm up, to sit down to charge your phone.”

That said, he thinks Salmon Arm is a generous town.

He said it used to be okay to visit bank vestibules to stay warm, but one guy wrecked things for everyone else.

He also said police and city workers have been pretty good; police will check places to see if people who don’t have homes are OK.

Lunch organizers Chrissy Deye and Monica Kriese say numbers have been going up and people are really appreciative of a hot nutritious meal.

Lieutenant Joel Torrens with the Salvation Army said the shelter at McGuire Lake has been hovering around 20 to 25 people per night, but has capacity for more. He said this is a time when people who don’t normally come in might make an exception.

The organization has been thinking about a temperature drop for a couple of weeks, he said, and wants to make sure no one gets stuck outside in the cold. He adds that, not to generalize, a lot of people living outside are incredibly resourceful and creative – and there are resources available.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HomelessHousingSalmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

League includes Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals

École Peter Greer Elementary School. (Jennifer Smith - Calendar staff)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Lake Country elementary school

École Peter Greer Elementary is the second Lake Country school with a confirmed exposure

Gary Leck, Facebook
Snow smashes through bedroom wall at Big White

Heavy snow fell from a roof on Monday afternoon crashing through a home

(File photo)
UBCO introduces another reading break in November

The break only affects the Okanagan campus

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

Amanda Eastwood, Community Connections Coordinator with Shuswap Immigrant Services Society, said the society has received reports of racist comments and actions in Salmon Arm and is working on education, other ways to combat the issue. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Working to counter racism in Salmon Arm, Shuswap

Shuswap Immigration Services Society gathers reports on racism in community, looks at remedies

Shuswap Youth Launch Team members Claire Waite, Abbigail Paetsch, Mikayla Wilkinson, Brynn Gowen and Caillie Hay-Vicars pause for a picture on the day of the Shuswap Youth Launch interactive event, Thursday, Feb. 25. (Contributed)
Shuswap youth over the moon with success of interactive event

Salmon Arm youth team invited to apply for $100,000 grant

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian economy contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020, worst year on record

Drop was largely due to shutdowns in the spring as COVID began to spread

Most Read