As services shutter to the public and walk-ins, those experiencing homelessness in Kelowna have had little else to turn to.
Kelowna’s Gospel Mission closed its day services on Mar. 17, limiting access to people staying at the shelter. Executive director Randy Benson said they’re helping the city’s vulnerable the best way they can by trying to minimize community transmission of COVID-19.
But that meant those not staying at the Mission’s shelter no longer had access to food.
And that’s where the Salvation Army Kelowna’s volunteers came in.
The Mission and the Salvation Army have partnered to continue preparing and distributing food to those sheltering outside. The Mission prepares the meals and the Salvation Army distributes them in the city out of its emergency services truck.
“We have some amazing volunteers who work with us all throughout the year, but in particular for this time now, we have activated our emergency disaster services personnel and volunteers,” Darryl Burry said, lead pastor at Salvation Army Kelowna.
He said they can only have four volunteers in the truck at a time every time they serve food so as to keep the distance between each person, so they currently are not looking for more volunteers, but he added there are other ways the community can help.
“We’re always in need of resources to continue our operations flowing. We also recognize that we have individuals and families who come to the Salvation Army to access our services,” he said.
“As people experience layoffs, people who need our services are significantly increasing but our donations are declining. So if you’re able to help in any way, maybe you recognize you’ve purchased a little too much, please consider helping out a food bank or you can make a cash donation.”
The Salvation Army will be distributing food seven days a week for the supper hour.
If you know others who are giving back and helping those in need during this critical time, send us an email and let us know!