Society of St. Vincent de Paul volunteers Roger Litzenberger (from left), Maria Salazar and her daughter, Hailie Salazar serve soup, sandwich and hot beverages to residents in Boitanio Park Sunday during -21C, windy temperatures. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Cariboo Friendship Society shelter busy amid cold snap

“It’s quite busy,” said Jodie Sellars, who works at the CFS.

Sunday’s cold weather snap in Williams Lake has seen a rise in numbers the Cariboo Friendship Society shelter.

“It’s quite busy,” said Jodie Sellars, who works at the CFS.

“We’ve just told people our doors are open, to come on in, grab coffee and stick around to stay warm. When it’s cold like this we let the clients stay in during the day.”

As of Sunday afternoon, temperatures remained around the -21C mark, however, Environment Canada has issued an extreme weather warning for Williams Lake and all of B.C.’s Interior as temperatures are expected to plummet to below -30C overnight and reach lows in that vicinity throughout the week. A reprieve from the bitter cold is forecast for next Sunday, Jan. 19.

READ MORE: Environment Canada issues extreme weather warning for Williams Lake and B.C. Interior

Sellars, meanwhile, said staff at the CFS are only expecting the shelter to get busier as temperatures drop further.

“We have 32 beds and then if there is need we have mats we can lay out on the floor if there is overflow,” she said.

“We’re just encouraging people to stay in and stay warm, and to not be outside too long.”

At lunch time Sunday, volunteers from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul were serving up its weekly soup, sandwich and coffee to those in need during blustery wind, blowing snow and frigid cold.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul volunteer Maria Salazar said they normally serve 25 to 30 people lunch each Sunday, however, saw just seven residents stop by today (Jan. 12).

“People are staying inside, so we are way down from our usual numbers,” Salazar said.

Staff at Mt. Timothy Recreation Resort, meanwhile, made the decision to close for the day Sunday at around lunch time.

“Temperature has dropped -25C and the wind has increased as well,” reads a post on MTRR’s Facebook page.

“Total of eight riders today so far and highways are a little icy right now.”

The ski area will be open again next Thursday, however, staff said they will keep the public informed by Wednesday evening on plans to open pending the weather.

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The Cariboo Friendship Society shelter was busy Sunday after an expected cold snap hit the city. Frigid cold temperatures are expected to last until late next weekend. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

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