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Support pours in for homeless shelter

Landscaping company and Southgate students support Campbell River's cold weather shelter and the homeless
Paul Mason (left) of Campbell River Family Services and city councillor Ron Kerr greeted visitors with smiles and good cheer – hot coffee – during Monday’s open house of the city’s new extreme weather shelter. The low-barrier shelter is located beside the downtown firehall and is a converted steel shipping container with many comforts that sleeps up to 16 people.

A Nanaimo-based landscaping firm benefiting from Campbell River’s building boom is “paying it forward” to the city’s homeless.

Easy Living Landscaping did the gardening around the recently-opened Rose Harbour apartment complex and crews are presently busy working on the downtown revitalization project.

“We’re quite involved in the community in Nanaimo and lately we’ve been doing a lot of work in Campbell River, and we wanted to give back a little,” says owner Rob Muir, who noted that most of the local workers are Campbell River residents.

What seems a little to some is a lot to others and Pastor Art van Holst was thrilled when Muir said his company would donate the fuel to run the city’s new safe shelter for homeless people.

“We’re committed to help,” says Muir.

It costs $30 a day to buy diesel to fuel the furnace in the 16-bed shelter – a highly-modified shipping container – located beside the downtown firehall.

For Pastor Art van Holst of the Radiant Life Community Church, which manages the shelter and also feeds the homeless twice daily, the donation was a godsend. The church had been actively seeking sponsors to contribute the $30 a day, but now Easy Living Landscaping is prepared to donate and drop off the diesel for the rest of the winter.

“What a blessing,” says van Holst.

But the giving didn’t stop there as students from Southgate Middle School dropped off 120 gifts for those who are less fortunate.

The students hand-decorated each bag with Christmas themes and filled them with treats and grooming supplies.

“We truly appreciate what they’ve done. It’s very positive,” says van Holst.