KAMLOOPS — Many of us were fortunate enough to spend the past several days surrounded by family and friends, enjoying delicious food in the warmth of our homes. For those less fortunate, the holidays can be more difficult, but thanks to the efforts of many organizations in the city, they work to ease that difficult time for those who may not have somewhere to go over the holidays.
The end of each month usually means a slight drop-off in people accessing many shelters throughout the city of Kamloops, due to the fact social assistance cheques arrive around that time. Despite that fact, Bud Forbes says the Out of the Cold Shelter was busy last week.
“We still had 38 come to the shelter, with 24 beds being used,” Forbes explained. “Not quite full, but pretty close.”
The Out of the Cold shelter runs Wednesdays and Sundays from November 1st to the end of March. This Christmas was one of the first year’s the shelter didn’t hold a Christmas turkey dinner for those who patronize the service.
“I think in this last week and had there have been 8 turkey dinners put on by various organizations,” Forbes said. “For that reason, we decided not to put on a turkey dinner this year at Christmas. We’re doing a turkey dinner on Valentines Day.”
One of the organizations that did hold a turkey dinner was New Life Community. Executive Director Stan Dueck says there was no shortage of people at this year’s dinner.
“There was lots of turkey for everyone, and gift bags for everyone,” Dueck said. “Lots of volunteers and groups came in singing carols. It was just a great event.”
Dueck says over Christmas the numbers dropped off a little over the weekend, as but he expects things to be busy as the weather changes from frigid cold to warmer and wetter.
“People obviously have places to go during Christmastime,” Dueck explained. “There have been days where it’s been really quiet, and days when there have been a lot more people.”
As always, both organizations rely on the kindness of the community to do the work they’re able to accomplish, and as the holiday season comes to a close, it’s as important as ever to keep those donations coming in.
For the Out of the Cold Shelter, warm clothes are what is needed most.
“We still go through a lot of socks and a lot of heavy, warm jackets,” Forbes said.
For New Life Community, financial donations allow them to continue helping the vulnerable people within the city.
“At the end of the day, what we’re always scrambling for is the finances. Making sure we’re covered off, and people are paid. That sort of thing,” said Dueck.
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