File photo of Pidcock House.

Guests at Courtenay shelter roll with the changes

Visitors at the emergency shelter in Courtenay are being praised for paying close attention to social distancing regulations — washing hands and staying separate — during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve managed to implement all of those measures,” said Brent Hobden, community ministries director at the Salvation Army, which operates Pidcock House. “The guests that we have in our shelter, they’re just amazing how well they’re rolling with the change in times. It’s quite a testimony to both our staff and to the guests that are staying there.”

Meal times have been adjusted to limit the number of people at any given time in the kitchen.

Normally, the Extreme Weather Response program nears an end this time of year, but the provincial government has opted to keep EWR rolling until the end of June.

“That’s also good news for our people,” Hobden said. “BC Housing has been amazing to work with. The help and the resources they’re giving us has been amazing.”

The EWR brings funding for 20 mats, which “are being very well used,” Hobden added.

READ: Salvation Army moves lunch program…

In recent weeks, Family Services has seen an increased number of people looking for food, which has prompted home deliveries of food hampers.

“It’s an added expense, but the main thing is that our people who are less fortunate are still achieving what they need in order to make it through the next few days,” Hobden said.

The Salvation Army normally runs the Tuesday session of the Sonshine Lunch Program at St. George’s United Church. During the COVID-19 crisis, it’s been offering bag lunches at Family Services at 29th Street.

This Tuesday, March 31, lunch will be served in the parking lot of the Sally Ann church at 1580 Fitzgerald Ave. in Courtenay.

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