Helping Vulnerable Communities Beat the Heat this Summer

Salvation Army worker hands out water during heat alert
by SalvationArmy.ca
Categories: Articles, Blog, Feature, Mobile, Newswire
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Keeping cool this summer can be as easy as staying inside with air conditioning. Yet, for low-income families, the elderly and those experiencing homelessness, that may not be possible. More vulnerable Canadians can suffer from dehydration in the heat of the summer than from exposure in the winter. With some libraries and recreational centres shut down or limiting entry, there are many at-risk looking for relief from scorching temperatures. 

During extreme weather conditions, many Salvation Army locations help vulnerable people stay refreshed. In some cases, we partner with local organizations and agencies to offer relief from the heat.   In Hamilton, through a partnership with Project Water, clean drinking water and summer survival kits are distributed to those in need. Our emergency disaster services (EDS) vehicles head to Gore Park and hand out bottles of water to vulnerable people. 

“We are handing out instructional and easy-to-read flyers to help share tips on how to keep cool”

“We distribute water from our EDS truck during the community lunch program,” says Dan Millar, divisional emergency disaster services director. “We then park the truck at the Hamilton Booth centre and provide hydration to those nearby.” 

COVID-19 has challenged many to consider alternative ways to beat the heat. The Salvation Army has partnered with The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction to offer safe and useful tips to protect those at risk from the weather.  

“We are handing out instructional and easy-to-read flyers to help share tips on how to keep cool,” says Perron Goodyear, national director of emergency disaster services. The flyer comes in French and English and includes illustrations to help those at risk beat the heat. “We are also asking for donations of new or gently-used hats, sunglasses, fans and sunscreen to provide to those in need.” Salvation Army shelters, food banks and other programs will provide these tips to families and individuals experiencing poverty and homelessness.

“We are also asking for donations of new or gently-used hats, sunglasses, fans and sunscreen to provide to those in need”

When there is a heat alert, and where possible, we will continue to provide critical assistance to protect vulnerable citizens from the hot weather and its dangers. Extreme heat affects everyone—be sure to stay hydrated and check on vulnerable family and friends this summer.

By Sharifa Campbell-Hogg