Community groups call for donations, cooling centre as heatwave rolls through Regina

As temperatures hit the mid 30s in Regina, some community groups are calling for specific donations to help keep everybody comfortable in the heat.

There are now three fridges in the city operated by Regina Community Fridge. They are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People can donate what they can and take what they need when visiting.

Danielle Froh, a volunteer with Regina Community Fridge, said certain things have been flying off the shelves over the past few days.

“We’re finding as we bring water up, people are waiting for it to come and are drinking a couple of bottles at one time,” Froh said. “There’s a real dire need.”

Regina Community Fridge is asking the community for specific items for the summer.

“Right now we really need water, popsicles, freezies and anything that’s frozen that can help cool people down. We also need sunscreen,” she said. “If you need it in hot weather, then everyone else in the city does as well.”

Froh said volunteers with the fridges have also noticed a need for more public places where people can go to cool down in the summer, similar to the warming centres that are available in the winter.

“There’s no where for people to go, to get AC and to cool down if they’re exposed to elements in the city,” Froh said.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are restrictions at some shelters. Public places like malls and libraries are now open, but there is still limited capacity.

“What the city needs is to have a cool down centre with air conditioning, water and snack provided for people who don’t have the ability to escape the heat on their own,” Froh said.

At Mobile Crisis Service, staff are helping people beat the heat by giving out water for free from its office.

Damara Moskal, the acting assistant executive director, said there have been discussions about the need for a cooling centre in the city.

“Having a spot where people are able to come and cool off is for sure on our radar,” she said. “Right now we’re doing the best we can in terms of handing out bottled water and we just don’t have the space to accommodate much more than that, but certainly ourselves along with other community organizations are aware that it is a barrier right now.”

There is no word on when or if something concrete will come together in the near future.