Well-known Kelowna homeless advocate dies at 60 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna News

Well-known Kelowna homeless advocate dies at 60

John Thiessen
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/John Thiessen

A Kelowna man who spent years handing out supplies to the homeless has died.

John Thiessen, 60, died Dec. 2 from a heart attack, according to a post with his family on his Facebook page.

“Hopefully someone will take over the much-needed caring for the unhoused on the streets of Kelowna in his absence,” his family wrote. Since 2019, he has been motivated to help keep “friends” warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

“In November of 2019 it was getting cold out and the City was moving a large homeless camp to a ball diamond at the Rec Centre,” he said in a previous interview with iNFOnews. “I decided that day watching these friends’ belongings being thrown around to start loading them up in my car and help move them. At the end of the day there were probably 120 friends moved to Rec Centre Tent City.”

READ MORE: Kelowna man delivering water, popsicles to homeless people as mercury soars

Thiessen went back the following day to learn more about the living situations of the homeless.

“Snow was starting to fall and the rule was they could not set up tents until 7 p.m. when it was dark out, and had to take them down the next morning by 9 a.m.,” had said.

Thiessen initiated a volunteer force in the area to help ensure the friends were fed and had warm socks and blankets.

He also spent his last night helping the homeless, according to a post on his page.

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