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Cold weather prompts call for more donations for Lethbridge’s homeless population

Click to play video: 'Cold weather prompts call for more donations for Lethbridge’s homeless population' Cold weather prompts call for more donations for Lethbridge’s homeless population
WATCH: As temperatures continue to plummet below the seasonal average, Lethbridge officials are looking for extra help in protecting the city's vulnerable populations. Demi Knight has more – Oct 29, 2019

Heavy snowfall and temperatures well below zero have made for an unseasonably cold fall in Lethbridge, and some organizations in the city have been left floundering for enough supplies to help those in need stay warm.

Julie Kissick — founder of Streets Alive Mission, a not-for-profit organization in Lethbridge that helps support the city’s vulnerable population — said the recent cold snap has left the organization short of many essentials.

“It’s so early in the season, and we ran out of gloves right away,” Kissick said Tuesday.

“We’re almost out of toques and hats, we’re out of hoodies, we’re out of sweatshirts and things we can layer them in, and we’re almost out of jeans again.

“We had summer and now we’ve gone straight into winter. We’re just trying to warm up the people, but we are just so short of supplies.”

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READ MORE: Lethbridge shelters prepare for high volume of visitors as temperatures plummet

Kissick said each year, Streets Alive hands out around 7,000 pairs of socks and almost 1,500 pairs of gloves to those in need.

However, after September’s storm coated the city in almost 60 centimetres of snow, temperatures have remained low, prompting a much higher need than usual in recent weeks.

“Nobody was thinking about gloves and scarves and all that,” Kissick said.

Kissick added the constant shifts in temperature create further problems for Lethbridge’s homeless population.

“They don’t have a place to put their clothing,” she explained.

“So, when it gets to 9 C, like it’s supposed to reach on Friday, then they end up losing some of their things and we have to re-clothe them and re-glove them, so it’s a challenge.”

With more snow in the forecast, Kissick said donations are desperately needed to keep Lethbridge’s vulnerable population safe and warm.

“We have seen frostbite, and we don’t want anyone to get to that point,” she said.

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“We want to be able to make sure that their hands, feet and their bodies are nice and warm.”

WATCH BELOW (March 2019): South West Regional Housing Forum tackles homeless issues within Lethbridge Community

Click to play video: 'South West Alberta Regional Housing Forum tackles issues to do with homelessness' South West Alberta Regional Housing Forum tackles issues to do with homelessness
South West Alberta Regional Housing Forum tackles issues to do with homelessness – Mar 8, 2019

Another not-for-profit organization in Lethbridge, My City Care, also offers supplies to those in need.

READ MORE: Raising awareness for homelessness takes centre stage at Galt Gardens in Lethbridge

Carol Smith, office manager of the organization, said they, too, have experienced mass shortages over the last three weeks, with many even asking for help accessing food services in the city.

“We’ve had more and more people asking for something to eat,” Smith said.

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“It’s so cold for them to even walk down to the soup kitchen in this weather.”

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