With temperatures holding ground at above 30 C for the next week, the business of helping Kelowna’s most vulnerable will remain a challenge.
“It’s already been really busy,” said Sonja Menyes, manager of volunteers, at the Gospel Mission.
“We are open 24/7 when the weather is this hot so people who need to cool down, can.”
Usually there are five hours of reprieve through the day at the downtown mission, so the staff and volunteers can prepare the small common area for the three meals they serve daily.
Now the space is filled throughout the day, requiring extra volunteer manpower.
The downtown facility is also taxed with the air conditioning running around the clock and resources, like bottles of water, now at a premium.
“It’s difficult at this time of year,” Menyes said, pointing out the heat has an affect on everyone’s mood as well as general health.
“It’s harder to sleep because it is hotter and people get a bit cranky in the heat.
It’s amazing how handing someone a bottle of water defuses situations and cools things down right away.”
Sunscreen is also something they could use in addition to water and volunteers.
“Nobody thinks of sunscreen, but we really could use some,” she said.
While there are challenges to keeping the homeless and semi-homeless community safe this time of year, Menyes pointed out that the mission is expanding its capacity and will soon be better equipped to help those in need.
The dining room will soon be renovated making it able to hold more than the current number of clients and there’s a courtyard program in the offing.
“We are just waiting for a couple of permits from the city for the courtyard project,” she said.
“Once we get that it will be amazing. We will have shaded area for people to relax and access services.”
Lastly, construction on a store expansion has also begun.
Menyes said that all the work that’s been done has been with the help of the community, who continually step up in times of need, like the one currently at hand.
“The Kelowna community has been so generous supporting us with items and money and volunteering,” she said.
For those who can contribute call Menyes at 250-763-3737 ext 204.