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Jamie Harrison

Brandon's Samaritan House shelter busy in November

21.11.2019 07:30
By: Harry Callaghan

The ministry is also looking to start an outreach program


Image: Samaritan House

Brandon's Samaritan House shelter has seen an increase in clients this month.

Executive Director John Jackson they've had 64 individual clients stay for a total of 249 times in November which he attributes to the bitterly cold weather earlier in the month.

He says the shelter not only provides a place to sleep, but meals, as well, in partnership with the Crocus Plains culinary program.

"We send them the raw ingredients, and then the students cook up meals and send them back to us, so we're really grateful for that," says Jackson. "And then, of course, in the morning we're doing toast, and granola bars, and coffee and things like that."

Jackson says not only is the shelter busy, but use of their food bank has also increased.

"The need continues to rise in Brandon," says Jackson. "Recently Food Banks Canada release their 'hunger count', which showed that across the country, use of food banks has decreased a little - but we're not seeing that in Brandon for whatever reason - the numbers continue to go up and up."

If you'd like to help out the food bank, he encourages you to make a monetary donation so they can purchase what they need; it gives them more buying power.

Jackson also says Samaritan House Ministries is looking to create a new outreach program next summer.

He says "Safe and Warm Streets" workers would make intentional contacts with Brandon's homeless to connect them with resources.

"Sometimes for folks on the street, although something might be close it seems very far away, so we want to be able to bring the help to the people," he says.

Jackson says they've asked the city for a one-time grant of $5,500 to get the project started, which will also have the dual aim of getting a better understanding of Brandon’s homeless population.

"Are they on the street, because with a lack of transportation, they're unable to get to a community - or are they on the street because they're homeless," says Jackson.

It's hoped the information gathered will help in getting a year-round shelter operating in Brandon.