Kelowna Gospel Mission sends outreach team to help with the heat

'Matter of life and death'

Sarita Patel

With temperatures expected to be 35 degrees or hotter for the remainder of the week, most people have the ability to head indoors to remain cool, but what if you can’t escape the extreme heat?

Those roughing it on the streets are posted in tents in various locations of the city and don’t have access to air conditioning as COVID-19 has closed most indoor areas such as libraries, stores and restaurants. 

That’s why the Kelowna Gospel Mission has outreach teams to provide essentials to those without a home.

“It is a team of people that is going out there 13 hours a day, finding people who are living it rough on the streets,” explains Carmen Rempel, executive director of the Kelowna Gospel Mission. 

“They hand out cases of sunscreen, they hand out hundreds of hats, hundreds of bottles of water a day going out just to protecting people who are spending so much time out in the elements, in the sun - it’s actually quite dangerous.”

She says they have two teams that work well together to help ensure those on the street also receive three meals per day.

At the Gospel Mission, they’re able to shelter 60 residents who have access to A/C and a courtyard equipped with sprinklers, but because of COVID, outsiders are not permitted.

That’s why Rempel believes it’s important to connect with those on the streets. 

“Just in the same way that the wintertime when exposed to the elements, the cold becomes dangerous - the sun has the same effect. When you don’t have things you can use to cool yourself down.”

What is the reaction to receiving essentials?

“Relief. People are extremely grateful, our friends are quite articulate in expressing their thanks to us and we appreciate that,” adds Rempel.

For more information on how you can donate to the program, visit their website.  

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