An anonymous and neatly written note, duct-taped to a light pole in the Williams Lake Safeway parking lot, praised the Cariboo Friendship Society for helping people in need.
“They take men and women and sometimes children at any hour of day or night,” part of the note stated. “The staff deals well with all kinds of situations and they have the patience of angels. But many times there has been no food in the cupboards for latecomers, or anyone hungry. Please let it been in your heart to help them out.”
When the Tribune alerted Tamara Garreau, social program supervisor for the CFS about the note, and sent her a photo of it, she read it out loud to the staff on shift at the shelter Friday morning.
“It was very nice,” Garreau said. “The part about ‘Shelly likes cooking good food,’ is true. The staff loves to make soup to have in the freezer for nighttime if people come in late and are hungry.”
There are 30 beds and then 12 mats available to sleep on the floor for the overflow.
Usually there are more men than women staying at the shelter and on Thursday evening a total of 17 people were checked in.
There is one family room, although Garreau said as of Friday there was no one staying in it.
People accessing the shelter are homeless and can stay for up to 30 days or more if they cannot find a place to live, she said.
Tenants receive breakfast, a bagged lunch and dinner — all cooked by the Hearth Restaurant in the same building.
Garreau said the shelter lets the restaurant know by 3 p.m. each day how many people are going to need dinner.
The men have an eating area in their part of the shelter and the women have tables in their rooms to eat their meals.
Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. the shelter is closed when the janitors clean, so the tenants have to leave, which is why they receive a bagged lunch.
If the weather is cold, however, then people can stay in.
“We are definitely seeing some new faces and we get calls from people looking for work and housing who ask if they can stay with us,” she added. “We have had some people stay up to 180 days because they cannot find affordable housing.”
The CFS also has 17 subsidized apartments in the main building, she added.
Once a week the staff goes on park walks to reach out to people who may need a bed, and has connected with people who are camping in and around town to let them know the shelter is available.
Garreau said a few catering companies from Williams Lake have been sending over food and recently Sure Catering provided a whole turkey dinner.
“We are always in need of coats, mitts, hats, toiletries and will always take food donations,” she added.