VICTORIA -- Victoria charities are calling for donations of gently used tents, tarps, sleeping bags and mats to help homeless people stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"This is absolutely critical as we know this is an extremely vulnerable population, said Mark Breslauer, CEO of the United Way of Greater Victoria.

"We're doing our part to assist these individuals who don't otherwise have the means or the home to help self-isolate." 

Members of the United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria and HeroWork will be collecting donations through an event at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Saturday, April 4, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

"With the greatest respect for physical distancing, people can be assured that if they package their goods in their trunk, they can drive down to the parking lot," Breslauer said. "We'll have an orderly physical distancing of vehicles." 

Anyone who can make a donation is asked to enter the arena's parking lot from Pembroke Sreet and follow the directions of a volunteer, who will retrieve the donation from the vehicle.

"No one needs leave their car. Everyone will adhere to distancing and sanitization," Breslauer said.

Donations can also be make on foot or bicycle at a designated zone near the entrance to the Victoria Curling Club. 

The items collected will be stored in quarantine for three days before being distributed.