Thunder Bay – The Salvation Army unveils a new Community Response Unit (Soup Van) that is ready to serve Thunder Bay helping to feed the hungry and bring support in times of disaster.
The new model is a customized Ford Transit that includes a large grill and fridge. It is a lighter, more streamlined vehicle than the 16 year old van it replaces which will help to reduce the operating costs. It provides a safe environment for our staff and volunteers who are dedicated to caring for those who turn to this service to make ends meet. This vehicle has improved manoeuvrability from the previous one, a feature that all drivers will appreciate as they are sometimes required to attend areas where corners are tight.
The purchase of this Community Response Unit was made possible through the generous support from Rotary District 5580; Rotary Clubs of Thunder Bay – Fort William, Lakehead, Port Arthur; Pinewood Ford; Royal Canadian Legions – Polish Veterans Br. 149, Slovak Br. 129; Kiwanis Clubs – Centennial, Thunder Bay, Westfort; Thunder Bay Professional Fire Fighters Association; Thunder Bay Police Association; Thunder Bay District CISM Team; Meighen Foundation; and many individual donors.
The Salvation Army Mobile Feeding Program is now able to continue to provide an evening meal those who are hungry. 80 – 100 people on average are served on a daily basis at two locations in the city – Minnesota Park and Wilson Park. These locations provide a safe and welcoming area for the individuals and families who come out each night. People of all ages from infant to senior depend on this service. Although the need for sustenance is the main reason people come out, a number come looking for the opportunity to have contact with someone who cares about them and takes a few moments to listen to them. For some, this is the only human contact they receive in a day.
Along with this nightly ministry, the new Community Response Unit makes it possible to resume our services during small or large disasters to assist in nourishing and hydrating first responders and victims. In the past, we have supported fire fighters at large fires and a gas leak, provided meals to victims of the 2012 flood, and fed evacuees from the Northern Reserves. We are pleased to offer this support to our community to ensure the first responders are able to meet the demands of the response and bring comfort to those who are displaced by the tragedy that has befallen them.
These programs rely heavily on volunteers. We are currently recruiting volunteers to assist with our disaster response services. Roles include food preparation, food service, drivers, meet and greet, deliveries and pickups, emotional support, spiritual support, acquisition of supplies, and office support. Training is provided. Interested parties can call 345-6492 for more information.
The Salvation Army is dedicated to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in Thunder Bay. This would not be possible without those who contribute either financially or with their time.