The hot Okanagan summers are on the horizon. For most of us, that means picnics at the beach, paddle boarding and enjoying BBQ season with friends and family. However, if you are experiencing homelessness or are living in poverty, the hot weather can be hazardous. A few years ago, the heat dome showed us how vulnerable the elderly, low-income families, and those experiencing homelessness are during extreme weather conditions. So what can we do to help?
Here are 5 ways you can support the most vulnerable in our community to stay safe this summer:
1. Consider Buying Extra Sunscreen. Grab an extra bottle to hand out to our more vulnerable neighbours. This small gesture can go a long way in preventing sun safety and preventing skin damage or stroke.
2. Donate items to The Mission. To beat the heat this summer, our clients most need the following:
- Hats, Bug Spray and Summer Clothing
- Water and Hydration Drinks
- Hygiene items
You can always find an updated critical needs list on our website.
3. Help keep people hydrated. Becoming dehydrated is dangerous for anyone, but especially for those experiencing homelessness. Consider keeping bottled water in your car to hand out if you see someone in need or drop off a case to The Mission.
4. Point them in the direction of a water-fill station. The City of Vernon has multiple locations where you can fill up your water bottle or use a water fountain to get a drink. You can also send them to The Mission during our open hours.
5. Call 911. If you come across someone who appears to be unconscious or displays confusion and excessive sweating, dial 911 immediately. While waiting for medical assistance, try to lower their body temperature by moving them to a cooler area or applying cold water to their skin. If the person requests help, consider providing them with a bus ticket so they can get to a safe place to cool down, like The Mission.
Heat and sun exposure can be hazardous. Help us care for the most vulnerable this summer. Together we can make an impact on the lives of fellow community members.
To learn more about how you can help support those in poverty, isolation and experiencing homelessness this summer, click the link below.