Anita Clifford, Laura Stamnes-Heggenstaller, Jeanne Arcand and Jennifer Monteith (along with their mascot Petey) are members of the Vernon Homeless Outreach Team formed in June. (Submitted photo)

Anita Clifford, Laura Stamnes-Heggenstaller, Jeanne Arcand and Jennifer Monteith (along with their mascot Petey) are members of the Vernon Homeless Outreach Team formed in June. (Submitted photo)

Vernon team collecting warm donations for the homeless while waiting for charitable status

Vernon Homeless Outreach Team will collect donations in the Village Green Shopping Centre Oct. 26-27

The Vernon Homeless Outreach Team is rounding up anything warm to give to those who are out in the cold.

The team will be at the Village Green Shopping Centre on Oct. 26 and 27 collecting money donations as well as warms hats, blankets, gloves, hand or feet warmers, bottled water, travel-size Kleenex boxes, hot chocolate mix, and anything else to help Vernon’s street entrenched prepare for a fast-approaching winter.

“We’ll have a table set up with brochures and stuff that we give out telling people what we’re doing,” said Jeanne Arcand, a core member of the outreach team. “The same sort of thing that we had at the Overdose Awareness Day event,”

That event – hosted by Upper Room Mission on Aug. 28 – was the group’s coming-out party. Though they’ve been working to help the city’s homeless for over a year they’ve only been officially incorporated since June, and they’re still waiting to receive their charitable status.

“We have applied for it but it takes up to a year to get it now, so we’re not eligible for a lot of grants until we get that,” said Arcand. Until the group obtains charitable status it’ll be running on thin margins.

“We’ve been funding it ourselves and we’re getting low,” said Arcand. “It’s gotten colder a lot quicker this year, so they’re really short on blankets and warm stuff.”

The group did recently apply for a City of Vernon discretionary grant, and while at the Village Green Mall they’ll be holding a raffle to bring in some additional funds.

Since going public less than two months ago, the group has been finding its footing. Since Overdose Awareness Day, they’ve added four part-time volunteers to their core of eight members.

“The Upper Room Mission knows who we are now, and also the RCMP and Interior Health. The Methodone Clinic is collecting stuff for us, so we’re getting more well known out there.”

READ MORE: Vernon pays tribute to homeless with memorial event

READ MORE: Vernon hotel manager plans to turn spare rooms into affordable housing

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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