Parksville Rotary Club and Manna Ministries members display some of the items purchased by Manna with the $3

Rotary helps the homeless in Parksville

However, the recently-announced extreme weather shelter is still not open

A Parksville Rotary Club has paid it forward, turning the $3,180 it received for its volunteer work during Beachfest over to Manna Ministries.

The Beachfest Society granted community groups a total of $60,000 last month, money collected during this summer’s Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition, which attracted a record number of visitors.

The Parksville Rotary Club’s executive and directors voted unanimously to donate their Beachfest money to Manna, which provides clothes, tents, food and other items to the homeless and needy of the region.

“I can’t thank (Rotary) enough, as the burden this winter to keep a healthy community has risen,” said Manna Ministries’ Robin Campbell.

Rotary’s Bonnie Wallis said the club’s decision “was due to the two stories that were in a recent edition of The NEWS. With the BeachFest ($60,000 in donations to community groups) story, we realized that we had funds to donate, and a few pages later (in another NEWS story about Manna), we found a worthy cause for our funds.”

Wallis also said her club encourages other organizations to help Manna too.

In a report to Manna Ministries members this week, Campbell spoke about the recent announcement that an extreme weather shelter will operate on Mill Street in Parksville this winter. The shelter space is currently being prepared and hasn’t opened yet.

Campbell and others who help the needy in this area have called for a more permanent shelter facility like ones in other Vancouver Island communities.

“We at Manna feel our community has been shorted again from the lack of help from governing bodies in the Oceanside area that did not fight and demand what other communities on Vancouver Island have,” Campbell wrote. “The feeling must be that our less fortunate will be all right. Manna Homeless Society feels we must speak out about this atrocity that our less fortunate will be facing and have been facing already on these cold, rainy, bitter days and nights. I can assure you the days can be just as bad as the nights. Please help us as you can plainly see more and more of our folks huddled up on our streets. It is very hard for us to be the ones on the front lines when we can only at this time offer shelter with tents, dry clothing and food.”

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