It’s no joke that the Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Emergency Shelter will be staying open beyond its usual closing date of April 1.
Although Lieutenant Joel Torrens of the Salvation Army had been working to keep the shelter open longer this year, a staffing shortage was making that hope look impossible.
However, things turned around in the nick of time.
“Yesterday morning I was panicked, today we’ve hired two new staff,” Torrens said happily on Tuesday, March 31. “We were looking for more staff to sustain operations and we were able to find them.”
He said the community responded to social media postings “and we’re excited to work with some new people and provide employment for people during this time of uncertainty.”
The organization has a few more people it’s talking to in terms of building in contingencies, but at this time the shelter will remain open as long as possible.
“Right now we have the staffing, right now we have the food and we’re going to make sure we do what we can to continue to have that, but there are powers at work that are beyond our control,” Torrens said.
“We’re trying to be a little cautious and say (the shelter will stay open) as long as we can.”
He said the bigger picture involves BC Housing’s contingency plans.
Torrens emphasized his gratitude for residents’ responses to the needs of the Salvation Army. He said donations have been coming through the mail slot, they’ve been received at the grocery stores and people have responded to the need for staffing.
“So it’s been really cool to see how that has all come together. We’re so thankful for people’s prayers, for people’s actions, because it’s really made a big difference.”
If residents would like to donate to help provide stability for the future of the shelter, they can do so by dropping off food donations in the boxes the Salvation Army has placed at Walmart, Askew’s and Save-On-Foods. Any monetary donations can be put through the mail slot at the church at 191 Second Ave. NE, but donations put in the mail must have Box 505 added to the address.