Coronavirus: Social services scaled back in Vernon, B.C. amid COVID-19 pandemic

Normally, the Upper Room Mission would be feeding their clients inside but now have been forced to serve bagged lunches through their open doors to people outside.

Almost all of its services have been temporarily shut down as a homeless resource centre due to coronavirus concerns and financial issues.

“Financially, we are struggling with our boutique closed down because of the virus going around,” said Naomi Rouck, the Upper Room Mission’s general manager.

As of Friday, March 20, the Mission has had to temporarily close its doors.

All Upper Room Mission staff members have been laid-off.

Naomi Rouck told Global News on Tuesday that the Mission doesn’t receive government funding.

Instead, it has relied on donations and money made at its boutique and fundraising events.

[ Signup for our Health IQ newsletter for latest coronavirus updates ]

“Most of the stuff we do are events to raise money and we are not able to do that right now because everything is shut down,” said Rouck.

The Upper Room Mission used to provide daily meals and now it can now only provide two bagged lunches a week.

“We’re serving lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.”

The Upper Room Mission isn’t the only social service feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are still providing our basic necessities,” said Stefan Reid, a Salvation Army spokesperson.  “We’re still doing our food hampers but by appointment only.”

The Salvation Army in Vernon has also reduced many of its services.

“No one is allowed in our building right now, it’s by appointment only,” said Reid.

Staff say donations are dwindling, but say they will still do their best to provide services for the needy.

“If people are hungry they can come, they can get food, we are still here to meet the needs of the community,” said Reid.

With civil measures expected to last weeks in the Okanagan, it’s yet to be seen how exactly that will continue to impact the vulnerable in Vernon.

Source: Read Full Article