Peace River still serving the homeless, hungry

The Catholic Conference Centre in Peace River, which has been serving as a temporary homeless shelter location over the winter.

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

Two organizations serving the most vulnerable members of the community are finding ways to help despite the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Peace River Out of the Cold Shelter is continuing to operate for now.

“We are trying to stay ahead of it,” says local homeless advocate Marc Boychuk.

“It’s a crazy time.

“Other shelters are shutting down. But if we do that [the homeless] will be in the ATMs and much greater at risk.”

Boychuk says the shelter may use the Ground Level house in Peace River if anyone using the homeless shelter needs to be isolated.

“Extra wiping down and spacing precautions have been implemented. We have restricted certain volunteers due to their age,” Boychuk says.

The shelter is also making sure to be ahead of supplies and planning for obtaining emergency ones if needed, such as masks.

The public is still being asked to donate food such as instant noodles.

However, the shelter is postponing an Open House/Volunteer Appreciation Event that was originally scheduled for March 30.

The shelter has been running out of the Catholic Conference Centre in order to provide a place for the homeless during the harsh winter months, but Boychuk hopes a permanent location will be announced soon.

The Peace River Community Soup Kitchen is also continuing to serve the community, but with some changes.

Volunteers will prepare and hand out bagged lunches to patrons at the door instead of having people come in and sit down to eat.

Soup kitchen committee member Wanda Laurin says if people want to come in and wash their hands and use the toilet, they can come in and use the facilities, and still receive their lunch bag on their way out.

Volunteers will wipe down and clean the bathrooms after the soup kitchen.

The soup kitchen will continue to run out of St. James Anglican Church on River Road beside Athabasca Hall from noon to 1 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday except holidays.

Any left-over sandwiches or lunch bags will be handed out at the Salvation Army on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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