Salvation Army helping to make a difference in cold snap


WATCH: Emergency shelter beds are being opened in Victoria due to the cold. With more on how the Salvation Army is making a difference and how you can help, here’s Tess van Straaten.

There’s a chill in the air and with overnight temperatures forecast to dip below freezing, Victoria’s emergency weather protocol is being activated.

“It’s very, very important they have places where they can come, warm up inside and stay for the night, especially in cold weather,” explains Patricia Mamic of the Salvation Army.

At the Salvation Army alone, 30 extreme weather response mats are being set up.

That’s in addition to the regular shelter and transitional beds that give the homeless and people fighting addiction a place to stay.

They’re just a few of the many services offered by the Sally Ann as demand continues to increase.

“It seems to increase every year,” says Mamic. “I think the cost of living continues to go up so we’re seeing more seniors coming through our doors, more single parent families coming through our doors.”

Ron, who asked that his last name not be used, is one of the countless people the Salvation Army’s helped over the years.

“I had some serious medical problems and some family issues and I needed a place to rebuild my life and I stayed here for a while,” he says.

Volunteering at the Salvation Army is Ron’s way of giving back and he knows all too well how hard it is to make ends meet.

“In this town it’s hard, very hard” Ron says. “There’s no housing available or the second something comes up, it’s gone. You can be working full-time and just not afford to live here.”

The growing need in Victoria is one of the reasons the Salvation Army’s Hope in the City Luncheon is coming to the B.C. Capital for the first time.

The fundraiser, held in Vancouver and other Canadian cities, is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the non-profit.

Tuesday’s inaugural event in Victoria features Olympic figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

The gold medalists are the most successful ice dancing duo in Canadian history. They’ll give an inspiration talk on overcoming adversity.

“They’re idolized by so many — all ages, seniors, children, everyone really loves them and they’ve been such a success story and a comeback story,” says Mamic.

On Friday, it’s CHEK’s 25th annual Christmas Drive-Thru, collecting new or gently used toys, clothes, household items, non-perishable food and money for the Salvation Army.

If you can’t make it down to the station, you can drop off donations in the CHEK lobby at 780 Kings Road all this week between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

New this year, you can also text Hope1005 to 45678 a make $5 donation or contribute to online to CHEK’s Virtual Kettle.

During Friday’s broadcast, viewers can also phone in a pledge or drop items off at Spencer Middle School on the West Shore.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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