Chrissy Deye and Dan Sallis help the homeless people who have been told on Feb. 5 to move from their tent camp across the Trans-Canada Highway from DeMille’s Farm Market in order to accommodate work on the four-laning project at the west end of Salmon Arm. Some have been housed in the Travelodge. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Strangers chip in to provide support for homeless in Shuswap

Woman helping them not sure how long donations for motel will continue

Just as Chrissy Deye is about to head down to the Travelodge motel to check on the homeless people she’s been helping during the cold weather, her phone buzzes.

She receives notice that someone she knows from the Lower Mainland has just donated $500 towards the motel bill. She’s overwhelmed.

Dan Sallis, who’s been providing his support as well, is equally amazed by the size of the gift.

The motel rooms have been rented since Monday, Feb. 4, so it’s now been well over a week. Deye is not sure how long it will last.

“Day by day, I’m trusting that’s what we’re supposed to be doing,” she says. “God wants them inside, right? Saturday night I had no money for rooms, Sunday I had money.”

Related: Homeless tenters must move for four-laning preparation

Deye says a man and woman from the Coast who she helped get inside years ago have already donated twice.

She recounts when she received a panicked call from the man’s spouse several years ago saying he was suicidal – he had been struck by two cars when high on crack cocaine and nobody stopped.

“What broke him was that nobody stopped, not that he was hit by the cars.”

Deye says it’s important people understand that by helping one person, there’s a ripple effect all these years later.

“Now he’s in a position with a job, a house and is able to give back to our community.”

If you want to help people, you have to walk alongside them, she emphasizes. If you want people to give up addictions, then you have to give them something to replace hanging around other addicts.

“Go for coffee with them, look in on them.”

If they’re still high, don’t judge them, she says. “So you take them right where they are… Just love them; that love makes a difference.”

Related: Five years ago, homeless man ‘had everything’

Sallis, who was homeless for a summer, talks about what a difference having a roof over your head makes, being able to have a shower. Already, there’s a difference in the people staying in the motel.

“You get so much dignity back. You almost resemble a human being again.”

Deye also compliments the Travelodge.

“There’s a kindness there,” she says.

Savi Sandhu, who works at the motel, says he thinks people on the street deserve help. He also says this group has not been a problem.

“It’s been good… There was one incident but it was all sorted out.”

Sandu says people have been generous.

“Strangers will call and we put money on the room. I think around 10 people have called.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Video: Enraged man terrifies staff and customers at Blind Bay restaurant

Video on Facebook shows the man hurling profanity at workers during the dinner rush on Aug. 7.

Opening night lineup for online Roots & Blues festival released

The first night of the festival on Aug. 14 will be stacked with favourites from previous years

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Floating concert to shake Shuswap Lake

Pair of bands booked to play floating concert at the Sea Store on Sept. 5

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

North Okanagan ranch needs support to stay afloat

Founded in 1867, a fundraiser has been launched for the Historic O’Keefe Ranch

Pup stolen from Vernon temporary shelter reunited with owner

Nicola Sanders says her son’s puppy was ‘overjoyed’ to see her owner again

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read