Outreach workers in Chilliwack have been providing bottled water to help vulnerable people stay hydrated as the temperatures soar.
Chilliwack Salvation Army’s outreach team is handing out water in the streets and in homeless camps.
“It’s hard for anyone right now, but especially for people who stay outside in this heat,” said Tim Bohr, community ministries director. “It can mean a significant health risk if they don’t stay hydrated.”
The Sally Ann outreach workers are doing basic health assessments, and will provide minor first aid if needed, or are ready to call 911 if someone passes out or suffers heat stroke.
“We stepped up monitoring during the outreach patrols,” said Bohr.
The Salvation Army has a longstanding history of providing temporary relief during extreme weather conditions, and some centres in other B.C. cities are providing respite through cooling centres, or handing out hats and sunscreen, as well as water.
In Chilliwack at the Care and Share “Pantry” where they hand out bread every day, they are also handing out “unlimited” water supplies, and providing their shelter clients with refillable water bottles.
“Usually there is a limit per person (on bottled water) but right now there are no restrictions,” said Bohr.
Ruth and Naomi’s Mission is also focused on hydration during the heat wave.
“The one extra thing we are doing is providing water,” said Bill Raddatz, RAN executive director.
RAN’s outreach pastor Cory Buetner carries it with him when he heads into the streets, handing it out as he sees fit.
“We were looking at the idea of opening in the afternoons,” said Raddatz, adding that they decided not to, given that their day numbers have been down recently.
Shelter clients at the Salvation Army Care and Share have air conditioning, Bohr added, so they are managing. The Sally Ann shelter program, including the modular units and the women’s shelter, has 57 people taking shelter right now, including two couples, three dogs, and a rabbit.