Kamloops shelter that didn't open sends donations, volunteers to other programs | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops shelter that didn't open sends donations, volunteers to other programs

January 29, 2020 - 12:33 PM

Although this Kamloops shelter wasn’t able to open this year, organizers are using the donations they've received and their volunteers to assist with other programs.

Kamloops Out of the Cold shelter was first delayed and then not opened at all due to location issues, but executive director Lena Cimmarusti says the items donated have been sent to other shelters and programs in Kamloops to benefit the street entrenched population.

Clothing and outerwear that had been donated to the Out of the Cold shelter was distributed to residents at Spero House and Pit Stop. Crossroads also received some bags of clothing to hand out, along with stockpiled snacks and soup which will provide lunch to 50 people.

Cimmarusti says the board of directors and volunteers who were ready to help with Out of the Cold are disappointed that they can’t open the shelter, and have turned their efforts elsewhere.

“This is a group of people who just really want to help, and unfortunately they couldn’t do that this year,” Cimmarusti says in an email. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to help in any way that we can.”

The volunteers who were ready to help welcome homeless people for two nights a week are now helping with other Kamloops projects.

The cold snap that occurred a few weeks ago gave the Out of the Cold volunteers a chance to help out with ASK Wellness as they dealt with the homeless population who were looking for a warm place to sleep. The Out of the Cold volunteers are also now helping out with the Mustard Seed, and Cimmarusti says they will continue to find ways to help the homeless population.

Although the shelter wasn’t able to open this year, Cimmarusti is hopeful to see the program running next year. She says members of the Out of the Cold board will meet on Feb. 29 to work on their strategic plan for next year, which she expects to be complete in a month.

“I think it’s a good idea to take a step back and determine what’s really needed because there are more services now than when Out of the Cold started. I think this will be a good discussion and we’ll come back with a plan for next year,” Cimmarusti says.

The board of directors will be working with service providers and the people who use the programs to find out what kind of programs and services are needed. Cimmarusti says they hope to fill any gaps that are found and will consider fundraising for a rented space next winter.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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