Manitoba

Charities help vulnerable Manitobans stay cool, hydrated during heat wave

Charities in Manitoba are working to ensure vulnerable people stay cool and hydrated amid a dome of heat that's travelling east across the Prairies.

Water tanks, cooling stations set up around downtown Winnipeg

Staff at the Main Street Project provided bottled water on Wednesday, June 2, as part of their efforts to help vulnerable residents cool off during a heat wave. Temperatures are climbing again this week, and a number of groups are working to ensure Manitoba's most vulnerable are hydrated. (Marouane Refak/Radio-Canada)

Charities in Manitoba are working to ensure vulnerable people stay cool and hydrated amid a dome of heat that's travelling east across the Prairies.

Samaritan House Ministries in Brandon, Man. is normally open Monday to Friday, but on Saturday — when temperatures are expected to reach the high 30s — it's opening its doors from noon to 3 p.m. to serve as a cooling centre.

"If we need to open on Sunday, then we'll do that too as well. So just really monitoring it and seeing how we can help, just provide a little bit of hydrants and also a comfortable, cool place to be," said executive director Barbara McNish.

She says they will be giving out water as well as frozen treats that day.

McNish says the City of Brandon and police are also giving out water.

"We work together to make sure that we take care of our community," she said.

In Winnipeg, 1JustCity is calling for donations of hats, sunscreen and reusable water bottles, and holding a fundraising event so that they can buy those items when the need outweighs donations.

"So people have an opportunity to make sure they have what they need to stay safe," executive director Tessa Whitecloud said.

She said the location on St. Matthews Avenue and at Oak Table will be open on Canada Day — a day it's normally closed — to ensure people have access to a cool space and water.

The charity lost its weekend funding in May, so Whitecloud says workers are directing people to other agencies and offering bus tickets so they can stay out of the sun.

"Different non-profits are collaborating, having conversations, and saying who's doing what so that we can respond to the needs of those who are the most vulnerable in our community," she said.

Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin (OPK), Comm.UNITY.204 and Anishiative set up a teepee and cooling station at 44 Martha St., which will be available until Friday at 9 p.m.

Main Street Project and Siloam Mission will keep their drop-ins open all day as a cooling option during the heat event, not closing for afternoon cleaning.

The City of Winnipeg has also opened the main floor of City Hall as a cooling centre and deployed four water tanks at Broadway Neighbourhood Centre, Spence Neighbourhood Association, the Salvation Army on Henry Avenue and Bear Clan Patrol's headquarters on Selkirk Avenue.

All libraries will also have bottled water available during regular hours, the city says.

now