The Family Centre—located in the Volunteer Bureau on Fourth Street—has expanded to the entire hall, where it hosts people throughout the day in need of warmth, a hot meal, and adequate clothing.
The Centre, which is separate from the Warming Centre at the Apostolic Way Church, is well attended and well used according to Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft, who sits on the local volunteer board. He said there's a low of 12 and high of 40 people accessing the facility each day.
“They could still use donations of clothing, socks, hats, sweaters,” he noted, at Monday night's council meeting.
The Family Centre is able to offer a hot meal every day through the donations it receives from the community.
The Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen receives food from Safeway, The Place, local churches, restaurants, and Green's Funeral Home, so they often have extra food that is dropped off to other facilities providing services to people in need, such as the Family Centre.
Rainycrest and LaVerendrye Hospital started donating their leftovers last year as well, which sometimes get directed to the Family Centre.
Non-perishable food items are appreciated at the Centre, but cash donations are what's needed most - it receives no government funding and depends solely on the community to pay rent each month.
“If people want to make donations of clothing or food or cash they can go anytime during the day to the (old) train station, they are open all day, and you can just go in there and make your donation—it would be very greatly appreciated,” Coun. Wiedenhoeft noted.
The Centre is located at 140 4th Street West. Volunteers keep the doors open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
He told council, he also had the opportunity to participate in the “Coldest Day of the Year Walk” last Thursday, which supports the Warming Centre housed at the Apostolic Way Church.
“It was very well attended and I had the pleasure to go on the walk with my . . . eight year old grand-daughter,” Coun. Wiedenhoeft recalled.
He said his grand-daughter tossed many questions at him throughout the walk about homelessness, but the toughest question from her was “why are people homeless?”
“I think many of us in this community live in a very comfortable home and we don't give a lot of thought to homelessness in the community but it's there. It does exist and I think that we need to keep it in mind as we go forward,” Coun. Wiedenhoeft stressed.
“Anything we can do to alleviate the problems of the homeless in this community, the better off we will be and the better off they will be.”