It’s the coldest day of the year so far in the Maritimes with a windchill that makes it feel like the temperature’s in the minus 30s. When the mercury drops this low, the vulnerable are the most in need.
The Romero House Soup Kitchen is one of the organizations helping out those in need, dishing out hot meals seven days a week. Andrew MacKenzie has been a volunteer there for 23 years. He knows the significance of helping the needy on days like today.
“It’s a place for them to come in and get a hot bowl of soup and a nice hot cup of coffee,” MacKenzie said, pointing out that there is a social aspect to the soup kitchen as well.
“It’s also like a camaraderie cause they can sit down and socialize and stay warm for a while.”
This soup kitchen also hits the road at night with it’s mobile unit.
“Some people actually can’t make it down here,” said MacKenzie. “The mobile goes out. It has specific stations that it goes to and the people come. They have sandwiches, hot coffee, sleeping bags, winter coats, hats and whatever the people might need.”
While some are in need of a hot meal, there are others who have no place to go to escape the cold. That’s where the Outflow Ministry men’s shelter comes in. It provides a safe place to sleep for those who need it.
“On days like today, nights like tonight, exposure can be deadly.” said Outflow’s Tony Dickinson.
“I mean that’s obvious to anybody who’s outside. Having a safe and warm place for guys to sleep overnight and come in the evenings is an important service for the city.”
To highlight the issue, Outflow is taking part in the Coldest Night of the Year fundraising walk-a-thon
“People are out and about to walk either two kilometres or five kilometres in a way that that shows that they’re understanding a little bit about what this kind of weather is like.” Dickinson said.
That event goes next Saturday.