Warming bus users not allowed to eat or drink on bus, donations redirected


“Other people on other buses are allowed to bring their own food and drink onto the bus.”

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Carrie Kotilak can’t understand why she and the members of the grassroots committee can no longer use city transit buses to feed the homeless to escape the cold.

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Around 9pm Thursday night, Kotilak saw a notice taped to the window of the “warming bus” (which runs from 9pm to 9am the next day). All such donations must be made to All Nations Hope at 2736 5th Ave.

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Warming buses are a stopgap measure as the city seeks permanent shelter space, but given the current shortage of available beds, the city has decided to keep the service going through the winter. selected.

Kotylak was told Thursday that if she wanted people to eat, she would have to eat on the sidewalk or outdoors.

“Other people on other buses can bring their own food and drink on the bus,” she said. Are you going to do it?”

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Kotylak and its committee, who call themselves the “Hot Meal Planning Team,” are frustrated by this latest development. This is another barrier to feeding people experiencing housing and food insecurity.

“I’m not sure,” said Kotilak. “We were getting along well.”

A statement emailed from the city on Friday confirmed the policy change.

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Kotylak said her organization had not been consulted.

The city added that food donations must have “equipment (disposable bowls, plates, utensils, cutlery, etc.) necessary to provide the donation.” Donations can be deposited with the HOPE Network between 9am and 5pm during the day and between 9pm and 7am during the night. The City asks you to contact Joe Bear at 306-510-1102 or jbear@allnationshope.ca to arrange a donation drop-off.

After the 2023 budget was passed, and despite calls from many delegations, no additional budget was allocated to end homelessness in the city, Kotilak and other members of her committee said: I felt the need to step up and help.

One pre-packaged meal a day was delivered to those on the bus each night the bus opened its doors.Snacks and hot chocolate were also provided

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Each night the group provides people with about 30 to 40 meals. In the past, pizza parlors, religious groups, civilians, and businesses have all come together to participate. On some days, groups could serve breakfast to people, Kotilak said.

Kotylak says she feels “really disappointed in the city” as to why people on the bus are not allowed to eat or drink in the warmth of the shelter.

Additionally, Kotylak said he has seen more people using the company’s services since the buses were full this week.

“We didn’t want to do this job, but we came together to take care of our neighbors and relatives,” she said. “These are not lighthearted acts of charity, they are acts of desperation.”

On Friday, Kotilak said he would return to the bus and serve food no matter what the city said.

alsalloum@postmedia.com

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