Homelessness Action Week is helping to launch consultation for New Westminster’s new homelessness action strategy.
Input is being gathered at two events on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Community members are invited to drop by Hyack Square from 1 to 2 p.m. (includes coffee, snacks and giveaways) and Holy Trinity Cathedral from 4 to 5:30 p.m. (includes hotdogs, snacks and giveaways).
Homelessness Action Week runs from Oct. 10 to 16. It kicked off on Sunday with a take-away Thanksgiving meal for youth at Aunt Leah’s Place and a drop-in at the Elizabeth Fry Society’s Maida Duncan women’s drop-in; Monday featured a take-away Thanksgiving meal from the Union Gospel Mission.
A wide variety of events are planned throughout the week, including:
Wednesday, Oct. 13
* Flu immunization clinic at the Honeymoon Suite at the Russell (Carnarvon and Alexander streets), 9:30 a.m. to noon and St. Barnabas Church (1010 Fifth Ave.) from 1:15 to 3:30 p.m.
* UBC dental health clinic at the Russell’s Honeymoon Suite, 1 to 3 p.m. (free dental supplies, questions and referrals.)
* New Westminster outreach health clinic, Purpose Society (40 Begbie St.), noon to 4 p.m. Includes point-of-care testing (HIV, HCV), opioid agonist therapy and primary health care.
* Free dental hygiene care (women and children) at Elizabeth Fry Society (402 East Columbia St.), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This service is by appointment. Call 604-520-1166 (extension 201) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, Oct. 14
* Coat drive – receiving and distributing new and gently-used coats to people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness (and hot chocolate and information) at the Russell (Alexander Street), 1 to 3 p.m.
* Barbecue (hotdogs and hamburgers) and distribution of harm-reduction supplies and naloxone, Purpose Society (Alexander Street), noon to 2:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 15
* Takeaway dinner provided by the St. Vincent de Paul Society at Lookout’s Honeymoon Suite at the Russell (Carnarvon and Alexander streets), 5 to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 16:
* Takeaway breakfasts: Salvation Army (325 Sixth St.) at 10 a.m. and Holy Trinity Cathedral (514 Carnarvon St.) from 11 a.m. to noon.
In honour of World Food Day, the Don’t Go Hungry food program is offering its regular free grocery hamper program this weekend:
* St. Aidan’s food hub, 1320 Seventh Ave., (soup – noon to 12:30 p.m.)
* nox hamper program, 403 East Columbia St. (soup – 1 to 1:30 p.m.)
* Queensborough hamper program, picnic shelter by the Queensborough Community Centre (hot meal – 1 to 1:30 p.m.)
In response to the pandemic, several food and resource hubs were created in New West. As part of Homelessness Action Week, and in recognition of World Food Day on Oct. 16, community members are encouraged to participate in a local food drive and contribute items to the food hubs.
“Unfortunately, our numbers seem to be going up each week and there doesn't seem to be any relief in sight at the hubs,” Betina Wheeler, coordinator of the New Westminster Homelessness Coalition, said in a recent email to the Record.
Wheeler said there’s a real need to get quality food into the hubs and to other local food programs, so a food drive is taking place during Homelessness Action Week.
Donations can be dropped off at: the St. Aidan’s food hub at 1320 Seventh Ave. on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 9 to 10 a.m.; the St. Barnabas food hub at 1010 Fifth Ave. on Wednesday, Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to noo); the Holy Trinity food hub at 514 Carnarvon St. on Wednesday, Oct. 13 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Food items that are needed include: whole grain foods like oatmeal, high-fibre cereals; quinoa, couscous or barley; pasta and rice; meat (canned tuna, salmon, chicken or turkey); beans/nuts (canned and dried beans or lentils, nut butters, unsalted nuts); hearty soups and chilis; canned fruit and vegetables (free of added sugar or sodium is preferred) and healthy school snacks. People are asked not to donate expired foods as they can’t be used and the hubs have to cover the cost of disposing of those items.
Baby supplies (food, formula, diapers and wipes); hygiene items (toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, soap, shampoo, feminine hygiene products, Depends); and pet foods are needed. Gift cards are also appreciated – Walmart and grocery store gift cards can be used to purchase speciality items that aren’t available (such as those meeting dietary, religious or cultural needs) and gas cards can support food delivery efforts.
For more information, contact Betina Wheeler at email@example.com.
Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus