Demand for a hot meal and warm shelter at Our Place has almost doubled in the last two months.
In October alone, Our Place served more than 58,000 meals – a 62-per-cent increase from the previous year. And it’s not slowing down, said Grant McKenzie, Our Place director of communications.
Already in November, Our Place is setting new records on a daily basis for the number of meals served.
Our Place has recently extended its hours until 9 p.m., seven days per week, to meet demand during the winter.
McKenzie said part of the reason for the increase has been the extension of hours, but also the reduction of services at other social services agencies such as the Salvation Army and the Mustard Seed.
“We are seeing a lot of new faces,” said Don Evans, executive director of Our Place.
“The cold weather plays its part, but we’re also seeing more low-income people, seniors, working poor, and those with mental and physical disabilities, seeking out help because their cheque can’t stretch far enough to provide both shelter and meals.”
Our Place operates on an annual $1 million budget to provide meals and, but that is eaten up quickly with the influx of new clients, McKenzie said.
“Our staff is working extra hard to make sure everyone gets a hot meal in a safe place,” he said.
Our Place feeds between 500 to 800 people a day.
McKenzie said donations are always welcome, especially cash. But clothing, such as jackets, socks and gloves are also needed.
“We are very grateful to have such generous supporters who are making it possible for us to keep our doors open,” said Evans.
In addition to providing meals, Our Place provides 45 transitional housing units, hot showers, free clothing, counselling and outreach services.
To donate, please go online to ourplacesociety.com or call 250-388-7112.