Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer Salmon Arm Salvation Army community services manager David Byers stands in the newly enlarged sleeping area for men in the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter at 441 Third Street SW.

Shelter opens just before snow falls

Gloves, toques, scarves, long underwear among items needed at Salvation Army’s Lighthouse shelter.

Mother Nature seems to be in synch with the Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Emergency Shelter this year.

On the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 1 the shelter opened its doors. On Wednesday, Nov. 2, snow fell in Salmon Arm.

Five men and one woman showed up on Tuesday but one of the men didn’t stay overnight, so there were five altogether.

Community services manager David Byers says the shelter has been renovated, thanks to help from Exel Construction. The capacity has been expanded for men and reduced for woman. Initially the men and women each had a group room, but there were never enough women to fill the beds. Byers says he’s never seen more than three women in the shelter at a time. So the women’s room was cut in half and the room for men was expanded. The shelter can now sleep 12 men and four women.

Byers says items of winter clothing as well as food are needed.

Winter gloves, toques, scarves and long underwear for the men are all in short supply, he explains, as well as toiletries. Not large bottles or tubes, but single-use travel packs of shampoos, conditioners, body washes. Also needed is under-arm deoderant, toothbrushes and small tubes of toothpaste.

They have enough winter coats at the moment, he says, but might need more later.

In terms of food, Byers requests proteins “to keep you warm” such as cans of tuna, salmon, turkey and ham as well as jars of peanut butter.

“Those little canned hams – those are perfect for us.”

If you would like to donate, please do so during the food bank’s hours of operation.

The food bank is at one end of the building at 441 Third Street SW, a block south of Centenoka Park Mall, while the shelter is at the other end.

You’re asked to bring the clothing and food items requested only during regular food bank hours: Mondays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays, 8 to 11 a.m.

He notes that some food was left outside the other day and had to be thrown away.

Byers also issues a reminder that the Salvation Army is beginning its Christmas hamper applications on Friday, Nov. 17. To get one, go to the food bank during regular hours. Apply sooner than later as there will be only a two-week window to do so.

Although the annual announcement from the provincial government last week states there are more beds being provided at the shelter thanks to the province’s cold/wet weather strategy, the number of beds hasn’t increased. But the Salvation Army did receive funding under the strategy to help operate its 16 beds.

Byers adds that the emergency shelter would not, however, turn anyone away during the cold and would put a sleeping bag on the floor if need be.

This season the shelter is open an hour longer. The doors open for people requiring shelter at 6:30 p.m. rather than 7:30. A hot meal is provided about 7 p.m.

“Then they have all the tea, coffee and juice they want to drink. They’re given breakfast in the morning and they have to be out by eight so we can clean up.”

The shelter will be open seven days a week through to March 31.

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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