B.C. A&W helps keep homeless people warm

Restaurant offers daytime warmth, coffee for people who have no place else to go

Jestony Pagdunzolan says it’s the least the restaurant can do.

As manager of the Salmon Arm A&W, he’s referring to the way the restaurant treats homeless people, treatment that has been noticed by community members.

When homeless folks come in and have a coffee at A&W, they’re welcome to stay as long as they like in order to stay warm.

“It’s the least we can do to help those guys,” Pagdunzolan says. “When it’s extremely cold you’ve seen them sitting out there. I’ve heard some stories they won’t allow them inside restaurants.”

He says he’s never been homeless, but he knows what it’s like to struggle. He came to B.C. from the Philippines in 2012.

“In the Philippines, my two-month paycheque here was my one-year pay. I know how hard life can be.”

Read more: Salmon Arm supports a good cause during Coldest Night of the Year

Most of the homeless folks who come to the restaurant want to pay for their own coffee, and then get the free refills offered after that.

“They don’t want to be treated like the homeless one, they want to be a regular customer.”

Pagdunzolan explains that he’s told them that as long as there are no issues that bother other customers – such as being loud – they’re welcome to stay as long as they want. He says they’ve been good, wanting to return the favour.

Read more: Homeless tenters must move for four-laning preparation

There was an incident involving someone coming in from outside and starting an altercation – he thinks maybe a drug dealer. He called police to get rid of him.

“Those homeless guys, I realize it’s not their choice that they’re homeless,” he says, noting that such a fate can happen to anyone.

He’s noticed that the homeless folks who come in help each other.

He and his staff were moved when they received a big Christmas card thanking them for their kindness, signed by The Homeless Family.

“Simple things like that, make your job better.”

Read more: Strangers chip in to provide support for homeless in Shuswap

The kindness has inspired other customers at A&W. A selection of toques were brought in that the restaurant could distribute. Someone saw one of the homeless people drawing, so the customer brought in colouring materials to donate.

Pagdunzolan said he’s spoken to staff about making sure the homeless customers are treated like anyone else, that their perspective is considered.

“Would there be someone to help us (if we were in that situation)?” he asks. “It’s good to help others.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UFV introduces first mindfulness graduate program in Canada

Most of the University of the Fraser Valley program is offered online

Brewery, lounge proposed for downtown Mission

Council votes to support liquor license request

Mission Stars win third straight bantam provincial title

Mission defeats Tri Port 5-2 in final, midgets take home provincial silver

B.C. Wildfire crews respond to Sts’ailes, Morris Valley fires

A fire at the First Nation and a grass fire in Mission sent smoke across the valley Wednesday

Vehicle crashes, flips on its side in downtown Mission

The vehicle came to a stop in front of the Mission Post Office

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Punching Parkinson’s in the Fraser Valley

Rock Steady Boxing program, designed to help battle symptoms of Parkinson’s, coming to Abbotsford in April

Baby left alone in vehicle in Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

Most Read