Across Canada, extreme cold weather alerts are bringing about increased services for The Salvation Army.
“It was like she was waiting for us to come,” says one Salvation Army street outreach worker, who discovered a young, pregnant lady, in sub-zero temperatures, resting her head on a garbage bag containing all her belongings.”
During extreme cold weather alerts, the primary focus of Salvation Army mobile outreach services is to provide transportation to appropriate shelter.
“The harsh winter weather causes many staying outside to want to move indoors,” says Nate McCready of The Salvation Army in Abbotsford. Nate and his outreach team bring people to the Army’s shelter.
In many communities, Salvation Army shelter services make additional beds available. Other services include warming rooms that provide hot drinks and snacks and outreach vans who offer blankets and coffee to those who choose not to access shelter.
“When a cold weather alert is issued by cities, special notifications are sent to agencies that work with vulnerable people needing shelter, “ says Major Rick Shirran, The Salvation Army’s Territorial Emergency Disaster Services Director. “In many centres, The Salvation Army is a key player to ensure that the needs of at-risk people are met.
“We find all age groups—people sleeping on heating vents and curled up under cardboard boxes. We do our best to protect them.”