As temperatures plummet to minus 20 degrees Celsius overnight in Winnipeg, a group of people will be hitting the streets to help the city’s must vulnerable stay warm.

“They’re risking their lives by being there and that bothers me,” Mark Stewart of the Salvation Army’s Cold Weather Response Team told CTV Winnipeg.

Travelling in a repurposed ambulance, the Cold Weather Response Team roams Winnipeg’s streets from 11pm to 4am every night when the mercury drops to minus 15 degrees Celsius or below. They stop at makeshift bus shelter encampments and search back alleys, rail yards and the undersides of bridges to provide clothing, sandwiches and coffee -- and hopefully a ride to a shelter -- to those exposed the cold.

The Salvation Army started the initiative last year and started it up again on Monday when winter weather struck Winnipeg. In the first three nights of the season, they have already made contact with more than 70 people in need.

“We just want to make sure the people in our community are protected,” Stewart said. “If we can offer them a pair of socks, you know, a quick ride home, a cup of coffee, and maybe just a kind word, that just might be what they’re looking for.”

With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Sarah Plowman