Street refuge reorganizes

They may have lost a couple of key staff members, but Red Deer’s Loaves and Fishes isn’t slowing down its role in the community.

They may have lost a couple of key staff members, but Red Deer’s Loaves and Fishes isn’t slowing down its role in the community.

After a meeting on Monday and some restructuring, Halina Jarvis, Red Deer Loaves and Fishes executive director, said there is a possibility of having to not operate for a day or two.

But she is confident that won’t happen.

“I’m hoping not to because I don’t want to cut the meals,” said Jarvis.

“That is always our first concern because we don’t want to stop the meals. We will work very hard not to. I’m anticipating no closure.”

Day-to-day operations take nine people to run and even though two people left, one position was filled quickly and they hope to operate with just eight for the time being, leaving the ninth position vacant.

They will use four full-time staff and the rest will be part-time employees for now.

“It all depends on how everything falls into place over the next two weeks and we’re working hard at it,” said Jarvis.

“Actually we’re looking pretty good. It looks like a really good team coming together.”

Open six days a week and offering dinner three nights a week to about 200 people each night, Loaves and Fishes can get busy.

During the day, those who need to can come to the building to relax, have a nap and get away from the downtown drug scene.

“What we get are a lot of people who don’t want to be downtown in the drug crowd, they want to stay away,” said Jarvis.

“We’re a safe place to come to get away from that.

“People can just come in get a coffee, lay down, I don’t care. As long as they’re not causing problems and not disturbing anyone. Sometimes people have had a really hard night and they need to rest. Loaves and Fishes solely exists to help people — if I’m not going to let a person sleep here, I better close the doors. We are here for that and we’re open to all of them.”

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com