As Ms Deakin stated…”it was really cold and wet out there on Thursday night and we served a lot of vulnerable citizens who are in need of food, and for the 2 hours we put in, and how we felt, it doesn’t even come close to what those in our community who are homeless and live on the streets, suffer through, day in and day out”.
It is truly a humbling experience.
When Captain Ramsay of the Salvation Army introduced the project to Arrowsmith Rotary in April of 2021, he stated, “When the pandemic hit the Valley, the already overwhelming need for food provision for our vulnerable residents, grew considerably, and we have to find new ways and partnerships to continue this service and not overwhelm our present volunteers. Rotary was clearly in my sights”.
The project started in early May 2021 as a 3-month pilot project. The program included handing out pre-prepared sandwiches, other meal types, nutrient snacks, fruit, water, sometimes Soap for Hope hygiene kits, and much more. As the Club members encountered the effects of the “heat dome” temperatures of the summer, emphasis was placed upon cold water, cold snacks, such as freezies and fruits, and ways to stay out of the direct heat and sun.
As the weather started changing and temperatures dropped through the fall months, there was a shift to more of a warmer variety of food provisions, such as soups. When the temperatures at the start of winter dropped to near freezing and below, even more challenges became apparent. The citizens became vulnerable to the low temperatures and the heavy rains and snow conditions, and their needs further increased. Rain ponchos and emergency blankets for warmth were carried on the truck and handed out as necessary.