Volunteer Kees Foster provides support for homeless visitors at White Rock’s extreme-weather shelter. (File photo)

‘Little gestures’ aim to brighten spirits at White Rock extreme-weather shelter

Inclement weather drawing up to 15 to Pacific Avenue hall nightly

Christmas cards with messages handwritten by some of Peninsula United Church’s youngest members are among “little gestures” hoped to brighten the spirits of guests who hunker down at White Rock’s extreme-weather shelter this holiday season.

“We’ve talked about how hard it is (to be without shelter) and then we’ve brainstormed” about the kind of messages people who find themselves in such situations would appreciate, shelter co-ordinator Joan McMurtry said Friday.

The results, she added, have been “very touching.”

“One little child said, ‘I want you to know that you are loved.’”

As with all of the kindnesses at the shelter, the cards will be offered, but not imposed, McMurtry said.

The shelter operates out of Star of the Sea Hall, at 15262 Pacific Ave. So far this season – as of Friday (Dec. 20) – the call to open its doors to those in need of a warm, dry place to stay the night has been issued approximately 20 times.

READ MORE: White Rock’s extreme-weather shelter open ‘until further notice’

McMurtry said anywhere from 11 to 15 guests have taken up the offer on most nights, with some of them familiar faces to the volunteers who make helping out at the shelter a part of their own routine.

Just eight people sought a warm bed on Thursday, however. The number was a surprise, said McMurtry, given the day’s “horrendous” rainfall.

With inclement weather forecast to continue, McMurtry expects the shelter to remain open through the holidays, including Dec. 24-25.

While cookies are also among the goodies to be offered for Christmas, she said the aim is to acknowledge the holidays in “a low-key, sensitive way.”

“For some of the (the guests), it’s a pretty tough time,” she said. “We don’t want to do anything that kind of triggers (difficult) memories.”

She said community support for the shelter enables offerings such as a hot breakfast. Other recent examples have included a $250 donation from a group of employees; weekly donations of baked goods from Peninsula Retirement residence; and a “tremendous discount” on groceries from Save-on-Foods.

The shelter is open from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey’s Johnston Heights reporting COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Surrey denturist goes mobile

Dr. Sarwar Sarwari, of True Fit Denture Centre, has had the van up and running for a month

White Rock Playhouse, Bell Centre lit up red in support of entertainment workers

Facilities across Canada participated in national Light Up Live movement on Sept. 22

New 10-bed substance use program opens in Surrey

It’s described as a ‘soft landing’ for people who are coming out of detox

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read