Rene and Karla Leclerc bring food to Boitanio Park Sunday in Williams Lake as members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. (Angie Mindus photo -Williams Lake Tribune)

Volunteers deliver food, but keep their distance from those in need in Boitanio Park Sunday

COVID-19 has outreach programs in Williams Lake modifying how they can still help the needy

Every Sunday in Williams Lake, dozens of people in need go to Boitanio Park for a hot lunch, usually homemade soup and a sandwich, and have a visit with those reaching out to them.

This weekend (March 22) more than 50 vulnerable people were anxiously waiting for lunch in the park when Rene and Karla Leclerc, members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, arrived just after noon.

But instead of a hot meal and a visit, those in attendance were told to stay back and keep their distance by Rene, who tried to explain the precautions were necessary due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rene smiled as he placed several boxes containing individual brown paper bags filled with a sandwich and a piece of fruit made by church volunteers, on picnic tables for distribution.

Read More: B.C. VIEWS: The good, bad and the ugly of COVID-19

“Here you go. God bless you,” he said, before leaving.

Usually, volunteers bring hot, homemade soup and stay to visit with everyone as they dish it out, but there was none of that on Sunday amidst the COVID-19 crisis, leaving many in attendance looking confused.

“So, there’s no soup today,” one asked as Rene was leaving.

Another, when asked by the Tribune if they understood what was happening due to the COVID-19 outbreak, shrugged her shoulders and said “not really.” She and another young woman there said they were both homeless.

“A lot of these people don’t understand what’s happening,” noted Karla.

On Monday, March 23, recipients of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s food hamper program will feel more changes in the way the society, and other non-profit groups, delivers food to those in need, as governments continue to place strict rules around social distancing.

Tamara Robinson, director of community services with the Salvation Army, said earlier this week they are trying to connect with their vulnerable clients as they face continued social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


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


Rene Leclerc cautions people to keep their distance as he prepares to hand out brown paper bag lunches in Boitanio Park to those in need. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Just Posted

BC Sheriff Service implements COVID-10 measures at courthouse

Visitors will notice a checkpoint outside the building

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue recruiting new members

Anyone interested in learning more is invited to an upcoming open house

COLUMNS: School reopening plan receives a failing grade

MLA Donna Barnett said the official opposition is demanding clarity

Williams Lake and District 4-H live auction takes place Monday, Aug. 10

District 4-H vice-president said he’s hopeful the community will show its support

Williams Lake RCMP investigating break and enter in Miocene

A large amount of items were stolen from a family home

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Royal B.C. Museum wants B.C.’s COVID-19 nature observations

COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time: ongoing project cataloguing province’s pandemic experience

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Most Read