As mercury soars, Abbotsford businesses offer water to homeless

Downtown sites open their doors as stations to refill water containers

  • Aug. 13, 2016 10:00 a.m.
Several downtown Abbotsford businesses have opened their doors to homeless people to refill water containers.

Several downtown Abbotsford businesses have opened their doors to homeless people to refill water containers.

With temperatures expected to be in the 30s this weekend, a new initiative hopes to keep Abbotsford’s homeless population hydrated.

Several downtown businesses are opening their doors to homeless men and women who need to refill water containers. Ward Draper, whose The 5 and 2 Ministries is leading the effort to create “community water stations,” is hoping more will jump on board.

For the homeless, hot days can be especially taxing, with no quick and ready supply of fresh drinking water.

“Access to water is difficult and we’ve had over the years a lot of dehydration issues,” Draper said. Those issues have included hospitalizations. This year, The 5 and 2 Ministries has partnered with downtown locations to provide spots where homeless men and women can stop by and refill water containers.

Participants so far include The Medicine Shoppe, O’Neill’s, Donairo’s and the House of James. The 5 and 2 Ministries is also continuing their water-distribution efforts, through which Draper has seen tens of thousands of bottles handed out in recent years.

While Draper says a water fountain at Jubilee Park would be of great help, in the meantime, the new initiative is a helpful stopgap.

“It’s another way to lighten the burden,” he said. “It saves tax dollars, it saves a lot of medical issues so far it’s been well-received.”

Participating businesses will be provided with a poster they can put in their window.

To participate, businesses can call Draper at 604-613-4432, or email the5and2@hotmail.com.

Temperatures are forecast to hit 31 C in Abbotsford on Friday. The hot weather is forecast to continue into the middle of next week, with temperatures expected to range between 28 C and 30 C.