Manna Homeless Society is asking for donations of bottles of water and sunscreen to help those caught in the heat. — Adam Kveton Photo

Hot stretch leaving Parksville Qualicum Beach homeless in need

Manna looks for water, sunscreen donations

After several days of high heat, Manna Homeless Society is asking for donations of water and sunscreen.

“With this long streak of warm weather, we’re coming across lots of people who are requesting water and the occasional sunscreen. That would be of help,” said Jerrold Paetkau, operations manager and community chaplin with Manna. “We’re just trying to respond as best we can.”

Every Saturday, the Manna Van is set up in Parksville on Jensen Avenue between Craig Street and the Alberni Highway from 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to distribute supplies, including water. “What I’m doing as well is I’m going around throughout the week and offering water to people that I see sitting on benches or sitting against buildings,” said Paetkau. “It’s getting into the acute stage right now, with the way the weather is.”

He’s asking that those interested in donating either call him at 250-607-7142 to arrange for a pick-up, or bring donations to the supply distribution day on Saturday. Paetkau said bottles of water (including re-usable water bottles) and small, travel-sized sunscreen would be greatly appreciated.

“Most people… they don’t have a whole lot of carry space,” he said, referring to the sunscreen size.

Overall, Paetkau said the homeless community in the area feels a great deal of support from Parksville Qualicum Beach, with many organizations available to help. He noted that Manna is grateful to the city for allowing the society to use the space between the Parksville Fire Department and the Parksville Civic and Technology Centre for their Saturday morning distribution days.

He also said Manna plans to hold a bike rally on Saturday, July 28 during regular distribution time to celebrate the donations of bikes to their bike share program. Manna is encouraging its clients to bring their new bikes and talk about how its helped them.

Paetkau said he hopes the event will show the support they’ve gotten from the community, and “let people know that their bikes are being well-appreciated and used properly.”

He encouraged the public to come check out the bike rally.

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