About Inn From The Cold

Friday, December 21, 2012

Three night activation 18-20 Dec 2012

Shelter closing tonight after three nights activation. Five guests last night, although for the first time in the past 3 seasons, we had no one for dinner. So volunteers and staff enjoyed a wonderful meal of rice, chicken, veggies and brownies.

One fellow arrived before dinner, but wanted to sleep and the next guest didn't arrive till 9 pm. This is one indicator that conditions are not that extreme. On the extremely cold nights, we have lineups at the door by 6 pm. So, while it's always a bit tough to close, our guests should be fine. Two of the fellows are heading back to Vancouver where there are lots of shelter spaces available and where they've stayed before our shelter opened (they prefer to stay here in Richmond). Another is returning to sleep in his semi-trailer cab (he's a long haul truck driver who lives out of his truck). And I'm not sure about the other two. Richmond house is full and at least one is waitlisted with them.

Thanks to volunteers who helped this activation: Elisabeth, Kathe, Jamie, Bon, Diane, Rusty, Poy-yuk, Evie, Vickie, Hal, Jerry, Don, Joan, Helen, Jean and Lynn.

Merry Christmas and best wishes. We'll be open any night during the holiday period that the weather is extreme. We've put aside some stuffing and gravy from Tuesdays' Community Meal and bring it out the nearest day to Christmas opening.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dec 8, 9 activation

We're closing tonight after a two day activation. Seven guests last night, although 1 left after dinner and 2 arrived just before breakfast. Two people new to the shelter, including one woman, our first woman of this season.

We closed out with a mega-breakfast, like we've never served before and it was all consumed like I've never seen before. It started innocently enough -- we planned to serve porridge (three of the volunteers are from Scotland, so that was a given) and pancakes, but I then I decided to add a protein, so we scrambled a dozen eggs. I pretty much knew we'd be closing, so we emptied the fridge of leftovers: fried up potatoes and ham from last night, heated up a large bowl of baked beans from yesterday's breakfast, made toast of the bread that wouldn't survive another day. We set out a bowl of yogurt and berries from last night's desert and sliced oranges. After all that was polished off, someone asked if we had any more cheerios left from yesterday's breakfast! We did and served him a bowlful. So heartwarming to see the contented look on people's faces as they ate what for many would be their only hot meal of the day. Two left pushing shopping carts, two on bikes and the others on foot.

I just now finished my rounds of taking down the extreme weather posters at the bottle depots and saw two of our guests, one sitting on the sidewalk out front of Brighouse station, panhandling, and the other riding his bike with a few cans he'd already collected. I'm glad their bellies are full of nourishing food.

Thanks to everyone who participated the past two days: coming in and cooking, socializing, cleaning up and those standing by for the next time we open up -- your efforts and presence really makes a difference in our guests' lives.

Best wishes to all and Happy Hanukkah. (I will save my Merry Christmas, hoping we'll open again near the 25th.)