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Storms hurting the needy
Most of the snow was washed away, the rain had stopped and there were glimpses of sunshine on Saturday morning in Parksville, but it was still a gloomy day for Robin Campbell of the Manna Ministry.
Campbell is the front man for the organization within the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church that helps provide food and clothing to the local homeless, conducting his charity work out of the Manna Ministry van which is parked near the Rod and Gun pub every Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Campbell’s smiling face is a welcome sight for many of the community’s less fortunate people and on January 21, two days after a winter storm pounded the area, Campbell admitted he was feeling overwhelmed. It wasn’t because he was busy handing out food and blankets to the less fortunate in the community. He was upset hearing about how many people, including families with children, had coped through the snow storm with only their vehicles or tents being used for shelter. When asked about what he heard from the people he helps out in the community Campbell admitted it wasn’t good.
“I’m devastated. Even they guys who wanted to work couldn’t get into town to shovel snow. When the snow is coming down you think about those individuals who are out there and you hope they have used the emergency shelter and when they haven’t it devastates me,” said Campbell.
When it is open, the Extreme Weather Response Shelter in downtown Parksville provides beds, blankets, a hot evening meal and breakfast.
There is an 11 p.m. curfew at the shelter (at the Salvation Army Church at 187 Alberni Highway) but stragglers are not turned away. Campbell said although it was open during the recent storm, the emergency weather shelter wasn’t filled, because a lot of them chose to stay put.
“If you are a transient and you have a camp, you just ride it out. Because there are such extreme conditions a person can become confused.”
Campbell said the people his ministry try to assist are not alcoholics or drug addicts, they are just people down on their luck.
“Some of them have been abused, some have lost their jobs and some have jobs but it is not enough to support their families.”
On Saturday, Campbell spent the morning handing out blankets and food and he said once again they will need to replenish their supplies.
The Manna Ministry van is parked on Hirst Avenue across from the Parksville Medical Clinic every Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and people can bring donations there or drop off much needed supplies at the Parksville Baptist Church on Pym St. in Parksville or contact Campbell for pick-up, at 250-248-0845.