Trevor Botkin, trades manager for HeroWork, stands in front of some of the donated items heading to the occupants of Topaz Park. (File Contributed/Paul Latour)

More than 600 items donated to the homeless occupants of Topaz Park

Newly established Neighbourhood Response Team helps coordinate collection

Topaz Park saw a 20-foot container lifted in by a crane on Wednesday morning, chock-a-block full of donated tents, sleeping bags, tarps and sleeping mats.

Members of the Greater Victoria community helped gather 640 items for the homeless being diverted to the park after many shelters shut down due to COVID-19.

The items were collected by a newly-established Neighbourhood Response Team comprised of members of the United Way Greater Victoria, HeroWork Victoria and Big Brothers Big Sisters Victoria.

ALSO READ: B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

On Saturday, the team collected donations at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena, seeing 166 tents, 240 sleeping bags, 109 tarps and 125 sleeping mats dropped off.

“We’re really thrilled with how the city responded,” said Paul Latour, founder and CEO of HeroWork.

The items will remain on site in quarantine for three days before being handed out as needed, Latour added.

There are more than 100 people already at the park, which has been organized by the City of Victoria, the province and local organizations to offer a more established site for the city’s most vulnerable during the pandemic.

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria street nurses ask government to help the homeless in COVID-19 crisis

“It’s important because how are the homeless going to self isolate and get food?” Latour said. “This is a place where food is brought in and served, where there’s proper spacing around tents.”

The area also has washrooms and handwashing stations, as well as staff on site to make sure everyone is comfortable.

“We want to thank everybody who dropped off items on Saturday,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO, United Way Greater Victoria. “This is another example of extraordinary generosity during this pandemic. The ‘neighbourhood’ truly responded.”

Topaz park has opened ahead of a similar camp at the Royal Athletic Park, which is being designed to accommodate people with higher needs, including those struggling with mental health and addictions.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

CoronavirusHomelessness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Trevor Botkin, trades manager for HeroWork, helps operators from Vic City Cranes deliver the donated items heading to the occupants of Topaz Park. (File Contributed/Paul Latour)

Just Posted

Sketch outside, connect with nature through Bateman Foundation program

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Victoria arcade coins new business model to reopen

Quazar’s Arcade is allowing group bookings for two-hour time slots

Langford Legion hesitantly re-opens with new hours

President says doors open Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.

Monday rings in partial return of school across Saanich Peninsula

Saanich School District reopening of schools comes with revised health measures

B.C. Conservation kills bear in Langford amid growing problem of habituation

Officer demands garbage lockdown for residents in bear territory

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Vancouver Island grizzlies: moving in, or just passing through?

Lack of data makes seeming increase in grizzly sightings on the North Island an open question

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Most Read