A group of Parksville business people are spearheading a project to keep the local extreme weather homeless shelter open over the Christmas holidays, regardless of the weather.
In a time when agencies scramble to get funding from governments to open shelters like the one on Mill Street, these business people were asked why they were getting involved.
“Beacuse this is our town,” said Oceanside Stylist and Barbershop owner Cindy Craig.
“And these are our homeless,” said Anissa Derek, a stylist at Oceanside and partner of John Derek, whose John Derek Design Jewellers business is also involved in the project.
“When you see a 71-year-old man at 10 at night digging through the gas station garbage it’s time to step up,” said Derek. “It’s not right.”
The plan involves collecting enough money to keep the shelter open throughout the holiday season. It costs $600/night to provide meals and warm place to sleep for eight people at the facility that opened this week. The business people said they have already raised enough money — more than $3,000 — to keep the shelter open five nights.
Harris Oceanside GM, Bodyworks Fitness, Oceanside Stylist and John Derek Jewellers — along with an anomonymous donour — have put money forward to date.
Bodyworks’ Gurdeep Nagra said the Island Crisis Care Society — the organization running the shelte rthis year — also has a list of items the facility needs to run the operation. Nagra said others have stepped forward to help fill that list.
“The Civic Action Interact Club at Ballenas donated a large amount of clothing and food they collected at Halloween,” said Nagra.
There are a few ways the general public can aid the effort. Morison Street businesses like Oceanside Stylist have a gift basket draw by donation. You can also visit the businesses with donations of items like food and clothing and household needs like soaps, etc.
There will also be a big push for the shelter during the Parksville Downtown Business Association’s Light-Up event on Friday, Nov. 25 on Morison, which starts at 5:30 p.m.
Donations in the form of cheques (tax receipt available) can be made out to the Oceanside Task Force Shelter Fund. Quality Foods has also stepped up in a big way, donating hot dogs, etc. for the Light-Up and allowing people to donate their Q Points to the cause. For more information, call Anissa at 250-240-7151.