With the cold weather approaching, local shelters are gearing up to host more people to keep them safe from extreme weather conditions. According to Environment Canada, temperatures are expected to get near -40°C with the wind chill overnight on Thursday and Friday (January 11 and 12).  

Dani Villanueva, Street Level Supervisor at Red Deer’s Mustard Seed says their cold weather operations are now in place.  

“Effective today, this morning we are implementing our cold weather plan. That means we are opening our drop-in hours as early as 8:00. Normally, we are open at 12 noon but because of the very cold weather we are open at 8:00 until 8:00 PM and that is our starting today, including Saturday and Sunday,” said Villanueva.  

She says cold weather operations are enacted when it feels colder than -20°C. During their operating hours, guests at the Mustard Seed are treated to coffee and supper.  

The Mustard Seed will also be working with other shelters in the City of Red Deer to ensure that everything is running efficiently.  

“We have volunteers and staff that are working hard to accommodate the needs of the vulnerable population and as well. We are working collaboratively with other agencies such as Safe Harbor, they have outreach workers and let them know about our hours so they can bring in some people here, if they're in overflow there.” 

Although Christmas brought many donations to the Mustard Seed, Villanueva says donations of cold weather gear is always appreciated.  

“The demand will be very high this week. It would be great if we can get more winter essentials like toque gloves and thick socks,” she added.  

Those donations can be dropped off at the Mustard Seed at 6002 54 Avenue in Red Deer.