As the temperature drops, the need for food and shelter ramps up.
Since opening on Nov. 1, 27 beds have been occupied at the 16-bed Salvation Army Lighthouse Shelter, with as many as nine people in one night.
Community services director David Byers says there were 30 people on a list who said they would be needing a bed this winter.
“That was a real concern, I was wondering how we were going to fit 30 people into 16 beds,” he said. “I was wondering how many were waiting for the cold.”
Dinner and breakfast are provided at the shelter that opens at 6:30 p.m. and closes at 8:30 a.m. the following morning.
“We have several volunteers; we even have lots of meals,” Byers says.
Volunteers are very much needed in other areas of Salvation Army service, including the food bank.
“We do need volunteers in the food bank, especially cleaners,” he says, noting countertops, bathrooms and floors need to be cleaned five days a week and is the least popular job. “We either have an abundance of volunteers or nothing; we seem to lose them in droves and get them in droves too.”
Help would also be welcome with other food bank jobs, particularly the week of Dec. 17 to 21, as well as kettle support.
The Salvation Arm kettle campaign begins on Nov. 9 and volunteers are needed for two-hour shifts. Byers says friends often buddy up and share a shift, with each person staffing the kettles for one hour.
“The biggest problem is nobody wants to go outside; they all want to be at centre court at the Mall at Piccadilly,” he says, noting other lucrative kettle locations include the BC Government liquor store, Save-On Foods and Canadian Tire.
Byers says there is no big Salvation Army fund to draw from, so whatever money is raised in Salmon Arm is what the local branch has to spend.
There has been welcome help from Food Banks BC. Last year, Byers acquired a walk-in cooler and walk-in freezer to the tune of $30,000. This year, the organization is funding a refrigerated van and display coolers.
With the holiday season approaching, Byers says the first day for handing in food hamper applications at the food bank is Nov. 16. Thereafter, they will be accepted on Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon and must be submitted by Dec. 7 at the latest.
Those who need gifts for their family can supply the information with their food hamper requests and can shop from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the week of Dec. 10.
“The biggest need for gifts is for teenage boys and girls,” says Byers, pointing out “cool” suggestions are hockey tickets, show passes, personal care bags and adult hoodies.
The CP Rail Holiday Train, which raises money for local food banks rolls into town on Saturday, Dec. 15, the same day as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Teddy Bear Toss.