Winter weather keeps shelter busy
Freezing temperatures combined with mixed snow and rain has drawn Nanaimo’s homeless to the Unitarian Weather Shelter.
The 24-bed shelter, operated by the First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo, had anywhere from 20 to 24 people seeking a warm, dry place to sleep since Jan. 9.
“We had to turn two people away on the ninth but tried to find them a place with the Salvation Army,” said Rev. Karen Fraser Gitlitz. “We did have some sleeping bags to give them.”
With Environment Canada forecasting snow flurries all week, and with highs of 1 C and lows of -4 C Tuesday and Wednesday (Jan. 17-18), Fraser Gitlitz said shelter guests are grateful to have a place to come at night.
“Particularly when they’ve spent all day outside and come here wet and cold,” she said.
The shelter has laundry facilities for the guests and provides them with a light meal.
“People have been very generous and cash donations has allowed us to purchase an extra washer and dryer,” said Fraser Gitlitz. “And the World Tree Ministry has been making meals for us. It’s all wonderful to see.”
Open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. at 595 Townsite Rd., the shelter is always in need of volunteers and is also looking for donations of gloves, track pants and pajamas.
Donations can be dropped off at the Volunteer Nanaimo office, 3-2350 Labieux Rd., Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information on the shelter, please call 250-755-1215 or go to www.ufon.ca.