Finding warmth with a furry friend
The donated coat and clothing area at the New Life Mission is a busy hangout.
It's 11:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning and the organization is closing its doors for 30 minutes to clean up after the lunch rush.
It will reopen at noon.
It's a last opportunity for about two-dozen Kamloops residents to grab some extra layers before they head out into the cold for another day.
Lorne Adams is quietly rifling through the donations.
He's been living in Kamloops for 15 years and it's the coldest he's ever seen it here.
"It's inhumane that kind of cold," he said.
Adams would know that better than most.
He has been living this winter with his dog Bobo, in a broken-down van in a parking lot near the downtown mission.
And, when winter finally hit the Tournament Capital this week, the cold weather also caught up to Adams.
He was planning on fixing the propane heater in his van, but time ran out.
For the past few two nights, Adams and Bobo have resorted to sleeping under donated blankets in his van.
Body heat provides some warmth, but it's so cold that drinking water for Bobo freezes.
Adams said he would have spent nights at the Out of the Cold shelter at St. Paul's Cathedral on Nicola Street, but the program does not accept pets — and he is not about to leave his best friend behind.
Adams said he understands why the Out of the Cold program has a no-pet policy.
Despite living in potentially deadly conditions, the 64-year-old is grateful for what he has, especially his two pairs of jogging pants — even if the outer layer has a couple of holes.
But, without the help of organizations like the New Life Mission, Adams believes there would be much more suffering in the streets.
Gordon Camille has also stopped by the mission before embarking on another day of trying to escape the cold.
He's been living on and off the streets of Kamloops for more than two decades.
Camille does have a place to stay, but doesn't like his roommate, so he's been spending his nights at city shelters.
During the day, he shuffles around, from the mission to the Kamloops Library — any place he can stay warm.
It's about all he can do.
Camille isn't worried so much about himself, but shares his concern for others living on the streets, especially the ones battling the bottle.
At -30 C, a night on the streets of Kamloops can quickly turn deadly.
For this very reason, Camille doesn't drink when it gets this cold.
"I don't know how you can stay out in the cold," he said.