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When Upkar (who also ran our warming shelter for 8 days after Christmas) reported to the White Rock council meeting there was spontaneous, enthusiastic applause by those in attendance. He thanked supporters, including our church, UNITI, Guru Nanak temple, St John’s Ambulance and others. He described what happened during the 35 days that the shelter was open at Centennial Park White Rock, from 7am to 10 pm, including 1,700 meals or snacks served.   Here are some of the many ways the shelter staff were able to offer assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in our community:

  • 486 visits, an average of 17 per day
  • 6 guests were connected to housing or a treatment programme
  • 32 mental health appointments
  • 15 medical interventions
  • 6 overdose incidents
  • 28 guests taken to Camp Alexandra for showers

Some guests made connections with their families.

  • A mother in Ontario wrote expressing her gratitude that her son was being supported at the daytime shelter.
  • A mother reconnected with her children.  

Upkar stressed what local volunteers have been championing. There needs to be continuity of support for the unsheltered in our community. The EWR shelter is open only for extreme weather occurring from November to the end of March, so all the remaining miserable days, the folks go back to the street.

As I write this on Sunday April 3, there is an extreme weather alert due to heavy rain. Tonight there will be only spaces for 6 people in all of White Rock and Surrey, and those not until 10 pm tonight.

There is a need for a 24/7 facility that offers a range of live saving/ health giving services. Other BC communities are stepping up. Please keep this in your prayers and as an issue in the upcoming election.

Cheryl Lightowlers, Shelter volunteer