Fraser Valley – Questions are now rising about the COVID-19 pandemic and the homeless. In Chilliwack, the three main providers of shelter outside of BC Housing are the Salvation Army, Cyrus Centre (for youth under 18) and Ruth and Naomi’s (RAN).
RAN posted an update to Facebook:
Many questions have arisen around the Covid-19 virus and what RAN Mission is doing to avoid and/or prepare for a potential outbreak amongst our community of people. We want to assure you that we are taking this seriously and have put a plan in place to address the immediate concerns.
As of Monday March 16th, evening meal programs will change from a sit-down meal in the dining hall, to a pick-up ‘to-go’ meal. Guests will be given their meal in a ‘take-out’ container each evening and will not congregate in the dining hall.
Pathways Shelter, which runs out of the dining hall every night has already been re-located to the Portal. Meals will be prepared and packaged in the main Ran building and brought over to the Portal each night for our Portal and Pathways guests.
These changes are being made in an attempt to reduce the potential spread of the virus and also to enable us to monitor our guests more effectively for symptoms. It is important to note that there have been NO known Covid-19 cases amongst our guests. We are taking precautionary measures only.
Volunteers’ health and safety is of the utmost importance to us so in order to avoid any potential health issues, instead of sending your meal team in with food and preparing/cooking it in the RAN kitchen, we are asking you to make a donation to RAN for the amount that you would spend on your typical meal. Staff and a select number of volunteers will then prepare, package and distribute the meals each evening.
Please go to www.ranmission.ca to make your donation and also let our volunteer coordinator Selena (email@example.com) know that you have done so.
If any of your group members are interested in volunteering in the kitchen with preparing the ‘take-out’ meals, please contact Selena (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Note that we are looking for a select number of volunteers who will come back multiple times each week over the next few weeks, in order to limit the flow of people in and out of the kitchen.
Be assured that we are monitoring the situation closely. We will keep you updated as changes are made to the regular mealtime routines at RAN Mission. These are temporary measures only and we are look forward to returning to our regular services soon.