Winter boots are desperately needed at the Safe Harbour Society in Red Deer to ensure no one gets frostbite this year.
The month of November saw temperatures in the city drop as low as -40C with the windchill.
Colleen Markus, director of emergency services with the Safe Harbour Society, said they haven’t seen any cases of frostbite at their shelter programs so far this year, but they have seen it in past years.
She said if people’s feet get too cold, damage can occur quickly. She said if people’s feet are cold it is also hard for them to feel warm or dry.
Markus said gloves, socks and hats are always needed as well, but boots top the list of needed items. Men’s winter boots, between the sizes of eight to 12, are particularly useful for the society to give out.
The Safe Harbour Society is also preparing for Christmas and they are hoping the public may be willing to donate stocking stuffer items to people in need who are homeless.
Markus said with Christmas coming they are looking for items to fill little gift bags for each person at the shelter.
She said any items like Chapstick, phone cards, gift certificates, nail clippers, candies and cookies or other stocking stuffers would be good. “Some years we get tons of donations and other years we are scrambling,” Markus said.
The Safe Harbour Society, at 5246-53 Ave., runs three programs to offer people lodging. Winter Inn, the winter shelter, runs Nov. 1 to April 30, the mat program for those under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and People’s Place, for those who are not under the influence.
Markus said compared to early November when numbers weren’t as high, likely due to the nicer weather, more recently there have regularly been 18 to 20 people at Winter Inn, 12 to 25 at the mat program and 23 at People’s Place.
“We’re pretty much at what we would expect for this year given the weather conditions,” Markus said.
Anyone who has something to donate can contact 403-347-0181.