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

White Rock to encourage Uber, Lyft to operate in city

South Surrey and White Rock are without ride-hailing services, for now

Trains through White Rock, Surrey could be affected by rail blockades

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Man in critical condition after South Surrey collision

Police say impairment and speed have not been ruled out as contributing factors

South Surrey boy, 11, hopes to raise $3,000 for Sources – and be Prime Minister

White Rock Coldest Night of the Year event to take place Feb. 22

VIDEO: Kawhi Leonard wins first Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP award

Leonard scored 30 points and hit eight 3-pointers to lead Team LeBron to a 157-155 victory

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citzensip, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Most Read