After months of working towards helping homeless in Sudbury, a group of volunteers have branded the effort as 'Hope for Sudbury.'
Starting in late summer, a few Sudburians began donating granola bars and water bottles to the homeless downtown, out of the trunks of their cars. Now, four months later the group has two warehouses full of essential items, and more than 30 volunteers, all working day in and day out to support the city's most vulnerable.
"We do this because no one else was doing it," said Richard Pacey, one of Hope for Sudbury’s founding members. "Because of COVID restrictions, we found the homeless were left on their own."
The two warehouses, which have been made available to the group until April, are located at different ends of the city. One warehouse is located on Lasalle Blvd, beside Collegé Borèal and is a city-owned building.
The other warehouse is owned by Paul Temelini who is lending Hope for Sudbury a large room at a building on Regent Street.
"This group needed a place," said Temelini. "So I let them in the building, and they were looking at different rooms, small rooms, not the size of this thing, and next thing you know they took it over."
“I’m good with it, they’ve got tons of stuff here, and it’s going out and they’re doing a fabulous job,” he added.
Members from Hope for Sudbury told CTV News they are grateful to have the two locations.
"We got a call saying a transport truck of donations was coming to Sudbury, and we needed a location to sort the items," said Pacey. "We reached out to the city, they worked hard to get us a location, and Paul Temelini graciously offered up the basement at 19 Regent Street. Now we have both locations, rent-free."
While members of Hope for Sudbury volunteer daily, the group does their biggest donation drop off of the week every Sunday.
Essential items are stored at the warehouses and team members organize care packages for each individual who is in need.
"We have team members here in the stations and we have team members out on the streets," said Melissa Belanger, a founding member of Hope for Sudbury. "We communicate back and forth so our members will take the normal necessities that we hand out every weekend."
Volunteers on the street communicate specific details of items in need back to those at the warehouse.
Hope for Sudbury said it plans on continuing to donate and work with the homeless throughout 2021, and have started to work with agencies, including Better Beginnings Better Futures and others in the city.