(Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich police rescue man with arm caught in donation bin

Many in search of clean clothing as pandemic closes shelters, thrift stores

A man with his arm caught in a clothing donation bin was rescued by Saanich police in the early hours of April 21.

Around 4:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning, a passerby called 911 after hearing calls for help near the intersection of McKenzie Avenue and Cedar Hill Road, said Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information officer for the Saanich Police Department.

READ ALSO: Victoria police chief asks city to fund more patrols at camps for homeless

When officers arrived, they found a man with his arm caught in a clothing donation bin. The individual told police he was currently residing in Topaz Park and had come to the donation bin in search of clean, warm clothing, Anastasiades said.

Officers were “happy to help” the man, and after he was free, paramedics checked to make sure he was uninjured. Luckily, he’d only gotten his arm stuck and hadn’t been trapped inside the bin – which can be far more dangerous, Anastasiades explained.

READ ALSO: UBC students develop safer clothing donation bins after deaths

More and more people are being displaced due to the virus and are seeking necessities but “resources are thin right now,” he said. The man was in need of clothing and wasn’t sure where to find any as many shelters and thrift stores have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

Janiene Boice, executive director of the Mustard Seed Street Church in Victoria, emphasized that vulnerable populations in Greater Victoria are in need of clean, dry basics as many haven’t been able to find a change of clothes for several weeks.

READ ALSO: VicPD investigating two sudden deaths at Topaz Park

“Morale is a little bit low, spirits are low,” she said.

The Mustard Seed church at 625 Queens Ave. typically has a boutique in the lobby for folks needing clothing. Due to the virus, operations have shifted but the boutique is still open; now, clothing is handed through the door, Boice said.

The boutique is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations must be washed and sealed in plastic bags and will sit for three days before being handed out to avoid the spread of the virus, Boice explained. The church has also put out a call for new socks and underwear as they’re in high demand.

Socks and underwear donations must still be sealed in packages so that those in need are receiving new, fresh basics, she said.

READ ALSO: Hygiene product drives planned in Greater Victoria to help those in need


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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