The warm spring and summer months are a nice relief for Winnippeggers after a harsh winter, but even this time of year can be challenging for the city's homeless.

Siloam Mission

Dan Maxson (right) at Siloam Mission said the shelter often faces volunteer and donation shortages in the spring and summer months. (CBC)

Darnell O'Cheek lives on the street and knows those challenges intimately.

He has been staying at Siloam Mission for a week now, but before that he spent two weeks sleeping along the banks of the Red River.

“I feel better that I'm not here, but it's a reminder that, you know, things do happen in life that you can't avoid,” said O’Cheek.

O'Cheek said he ended up at the mission after a falling out at the place he was staying.

Siloam Mission's urgent summer needs:

  • Bottled water
  • Travel-sized shampoo and body wash
  • Sunscreen, bug spray, chap-stick
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, polygrip
  • ​Razors, deodorant, feminine sanitary products
  • Towels
  • Runners
  • Men's hoodies, T-shirts and jeans
  • New men's and women's underwear

Everyday challenges

Although this time of year is mild, factors like rain and even the mud made life difficult for O’Cheek when trying to find a place to sleep.

“When you come out of a tent and that, the ground is right there,” he said. “You have nothing to wash-up.”

This time of year can put a lot of pressure on Siloam Mission, too.

Volunteers take holidays and there are often fewer donations.

Siloam still needs summer-items like bottled water, sunscreen, bug spray, clothing and runners to give to its shelter-users.

“We are just really, really grateful that people drop stuff off all the time,” said Dan Maxson with Siloam Mission. “It's an amazing situation and we are very thankful, but we need it to keep coming.”

As for Darnell, he said having a bed at Siloam is making things better. 

He has two volunteer jobs now and is hoping to find his own place.