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Community donates 1,000-plus bottles of water in 1 morning for Chilliwack homeless

If there’s one thing homeless people need during scorching weather, it’s water.

And a group of community-minded Chilliwack residents have made a point of keeping some of the city’s most vulnerable residents hydrated by collecting several hundred bottles of water in just one morning.

More than 1,000 bottles of water were donated in a very short timeframe Tuesday (June 22) as Chilliwack and the Lower Mainland were experiencing the third straight day of above-average temperatures.

RELATED: Record-breaking heat shimmered across Fraser Valley for second day

The project was a “community collaboration,” said Amber Price, owner of The Book Man.

Griffin Security, the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association (BIA), Mayor Ken Popove, resident Trisha Mercer and others came together to spread the word on social media about the need for cases of bottled water.

By noon, two pickup trucks were filled.

Cody Mendel (foreground) and fellow Griffin Security staff unload donations of bottled water that will be handed out to Chilliwack’s homeless community and others. They are seen here on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

On average, Griffin Security hands out 30 bottles of water a day, but with hotter temperatures that number increases dramatically.

“In the last 10 days or so, we’ve had to call an ambulance eight times for heat stroke,” said Brian Goldstone of Griffin Security.

But they don’t just distribute water to homeless people, he added. They also keep an eye out for elderly people.

Goldstone said BC Ambulance Service is already “overtaxed” and by eliminating calls about people suffering heat stroke, “it’s going to help that much more.”

It’s a problem that’s “easily preventable,” he said adding that Griffin staff always have bottles of water in their trucks, and they will hand them out to anyone at all who needs one.

Many businesses stepped up on June 22 and donated water and/or gift cards including: Superstore, FreshCo, Save-On-Foods and Chilliwack Water Store.

“While bottles of water are a great stop gap, the real solution resides in making water publicly available at all times,” Price said.

She recently found out that Chilliwack city council approved two public drinking fountains which will be installed by the end of summer.

“The whole point is to keep everybody hydrated all the way through this and we will survive it,” Goldstone said.

Those wanting to donate cases of bottled water can drop them off at Griffin Security (9300 Nowell St.) or The Book Man (45939 Wellington Ave.). The Book Man is also accepting monetary donations for the initiative.

Griffin is also able to pick up cases of water. People can call them at 604-703-0888 to arrange a time.


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Jenna Hauck

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