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Surrey’s homeless community in need of bottled water, sunscreen during heatwave

Extreme weather response coordinator says this is an ‘ongoing ask’ in what will be a hot summer
Surrey’s Extreme Weather Response team is putting a call out for donations, including bottled water, to help the homeless population during this heatwave. (Flickr photo)

Surrey’s Extreme Weather Response team and Phoenix Society have put a call out for donations to help the homeless population during this heatwave.

Jonquil Hallgate, the EWR coordinator, said the EWR team “will take whatever” people are able to donate. Donations needed include bottled water, sunscreen or $5- or $10-giftcards for Tim Hortons or McDonald’s for people to get food and get indoors where there’s air conditioning.

“We know that there’s several hundred people on the streets, around the communities, White Rock, South Surrey, all of Surrey,” she said.

“What we’ll do is we’ll divvy out anything that comes into service organizations in different parts of the city, so the outreach staff can pass stuff out to people who are in need.”

READ ALSO: Community donates 1,000-plus bottles of water in 1 morning for Chilliwack homeless, June 22, 2021

People can email Hallgate at and she can direct people on where to bring donations. She also said the EWR team is looking for available indoor space, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the temperatures are typically the warmest, where people can go to cool down.

Alternatively, people can drop off donations at Phoenix Centre (13686 94A Ave.), which will be distributed among agencies supporting those who are at risk right now.

“With record-breaking temperatures in the forecast for the weekend and into next week, there is serious risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and even stroke,” said Amy Reid, fund development and communications manager at Phoenix.

“This early heat caught many communities by surprise and we are working to ensure vulnerable populations have safe places to access for the rest of the summer. We need places in every community where people can escape the heat.

Hallgate said she expects it to be a hot summer, with temperatures much warmer than normal, so this is an “ongoing ask.”

“We think about people during the cold weather and we have a plan but are still working on implementing a system for the heat response.”

The heatwave which has seen scorching temperatures across B.C. is expected to get record-breakingly worse this weekend, triggering a new warning from Environment Canada.

READ ALSO: Record-breakingly hot temperatures forecast for B.C. this weekend, June 24, 2021

The agency said an “exceptionally strong” building ridge of high pressure could leave parts of the province dangerously warm from Friday until Tuesday.

“The duration of this heatwave is concerning as there is little relief at night with elevated overnight temperatures,” reads the Wednesday (June 23) warning.

– With files from Sarah Grochowski

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Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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