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COVID-19 brings on tough times for Lethbridge’s homeless
Clients at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen are now encouraged to stand two meters apart and many wait outside ensure proper social distancing.
LETHBRIDGE -- One of the noticeable effects of COVID-19 is the amenities many people have to give up, but for the homeless it has become basic necessities.
"As downtown people, street people, we rely on these facilities and these things," said one person attending the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen’s lunch program who referred to himself as a street person.
Many Canadians have been stockpiling toilet paper, while many in the homeless population are simply looking for a washroom.
"It’s affected the shelter too because the waiting lines are huge, you have to wait outside for over an hour. What if I have to use the washroom?" he said. "Everything is shut down, we can’t go anywhere, library, there is no where to go.”
Others within the homeless community are also noticing COVID-19 having an effect on their population.
"Dollar Tree had shopping carts to block you from walking in where the customers are paying and leaving," said Karla, who stays at the Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Centre "We’re staying more distant, and the streets are empty and they're empty early."
The Lethbridge Soup Kitchen has seen its number of elderly volunteers decrease, as they choose to stay home to prevent contraction of the virus.
Despite the recent measures imposed by provincial health authorities, Bill Ginther, executive director at the soup kitchen is grateful he has been able to recruit new volunteers.
"We’re here for our guests to make sure they are provided with a hot meal three times a day," said Ginther.
Proper social distancing
The Lethbridge Soup Kitchen has implemented several precautionary measures to ensure the safety of guests and volunteers. Guests stand two meters apart and many wait outside ensure proper social distancing.
"I think our guests are at greater risk of contracting the virus than we from them because they don’t travel," said Ginther.
The Lethbridge Soup Kitchen remains one of the only places available for people on the homeless community.
As more and more places like the public library are closing their doors, they must now find new places to fulfill their basic needs such as going to the bathroom.
For those wanting to help the homeless, the soup kitchen is always looking for more volunteers and financial contribution, contact 587-220-8688.