Siloam Mission has opened up a volunteer-run gym to help its homeless guests maintain healthy lifestyles.
Located on the fourth floor of its Princess Street building, guests can get in shape on site two hours each day.
“When you’re living on the street, the first thing to take a beating is your health,” said Vicki Olatundun, manager of Siloam Mission’s onsite Saul Sair Health Centre.
The gym adds to the existing health care already provided at the shelter, such as free dental care, foot care, chiropractic services and health education.
“We see patients every day who should be getting some exercise but don’t have access to equipment because of their financial limitations. Many of them have expressed their desire to work out, but simply can’t afford a gym membership,” Olatundun added.
Two occupational therapy students from the University of Manitoba helped the gym come to life when they interned at Siloam earlier this year and heard about the vision to create the gym. Craig Bennett and Nadine Blankvoort developed a fitness program and collected donated gym equipment as part of their internship.
The equipment was donated from several places, including Shapes Fitness Centres, The Floor Show, Curves in Steinbach, Grace Hospital, Diamond Athletic, and private donors.
The gym is open two hours a day, five days a week, with volunteer trainers and instructors provided by the Manitoba Fitness Council to help participants set up a workout schedule.
Proper workout gear, such as gym clothes and shoes, are provided to all participants.