Vernon’s Salvation Army House of Hope will hand out limited numbers of bagged meals to those without shelter Monday to Friday from 1 to 2 p.m. starting March 23. (Morning Star - file photo)

Vernon’s marginalized population helped by Plan B

Social Planning Council, others team up to provide bagged meals for those without shelter

It’s literally Plan B.

The Social Planning Council North Okanagan, together with various social service agencies, have been working on a plan to ensure no one goes hungry or forgotten during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SPC executive director Annette Sharkey says a cooperative plan has been developed “that respects the need for social distancing while at the same time taking the immediate needs of our marginalized population into account.”

“A group of dedicated organizations and individuals have been working on a Plan B and the Salvation Army has stepped up to fill the gap,” said Sharkey, referencing the closure of the Upper Room Mission (except for bagged lunches on Tuesday and Thursday from 12 to 12:30 p.m.).

READ MORE: Vernon’s Upper Room Mission faces ‘huge financial distress’

Starting Monday, March 23, a limited number of bagged meals will be available in the parking lot of the Salvation Army – House of Hope , Monday to Friday from 1-to-2 p.m. These meals will be targeted to people who are sleeping outside, with no access to food services. Individuals staying at local shelters receive daily meals and are not in need of additional support.

Bagged meals will be handed out from a food truck in the Salvation Army parking lot, social distancing will be maintained, and people will be asked to leave the parking lot once they have received their meal.

For now, the Saturday lunches at All Saints Anglican Church are being maintained but are moving to a bagged lunch being distributed at the door.

Every other Sunday, there is food service at the Tail Gate Street Church in the parking lot of the Upper Room Mission at 1 p.m. Their food service will be modified in light of the current situation.

“Our charitable sector is facing challenges, but is holding strong as organizations, funders, businesses and individuals step up to provide the needed front-line support required at this uniquely difficult time,” said Sharkey.

The Community Foundation of the North Okanagan has already provided an emergency grant to ensure Plan B is a success.

The foundation has also started a fund that can accept online donations to support collaborative efforts in the charitable sector as things evolve over the coming days, weeks and months.

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