Salvation Army’s Beacon Bus needs replacing

New $100,000 vehicle will be retrofitted with a mobile kitchen for emergency response situations

Beacon Bus driver Robert Walker

The iconic Salvation Army Beacon Bus is in need of an upgrade.

The stalwart vehicle has been helping volunteers provide meals, clothing and compassion to emergency workers and community members for the past 15 years.

But the organization needs still needs to raise $50,000 to buy a replacement van and retrofit it a full kitchen by the end of the year.

“The loss of services provided by the Beacon Bus would create a significant gap in our local emergency management system,” said Sara Walsh, deputy emergency coordinator with Victoria Emergency Management.

In addition to assisting fire, police and search and rescue crews with emergency response, the Beacon Bus provides hot meals and community and street outreach throughout Greater Victoria.

It is stocked at all times with food, clothing, blankets and other necessary items enabling it to be on call 24/7.

Each Friday, the Beacon Bus feeds between 30 and 60 people in front of the Blanshard Community Centre and hands out donated groceries to in-need families.

“There’s a lot of emotional stories that come when we do respond to emergencies,” said Kyla Ferns, special projects officer.

One of the most heartbreaking moments for driver Ken Humble came when he and the Beacon Bus were deployed to Kelowna during the 2003 forest fires that devastated the region.

“This little girl that couldn’t have been any taller than the wheels was just balling her eyes out and I asked her what was wrong. She pointed up the hill and said, ‘All my toys and clothes are in my house and it’s gone.’ So I gave her a teddy bear and she wiped her tears with it,” he recalled.

Ronald Walker has been driving the Beacon Bus since retiring two years ago, and remembers a long search and rescue mission in Sooke where he took the time to comfort the family of the missing man after feeding the search team.

“It’s just that contact you make with people that really matters,” Walker said.

Earlier this week, an anonymous donor came forward with $50,000 towards the new vehicle.

“We’re extremely grateful for it,” she said. “We’re not there yet, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

To donate to the campaign, call the Victoria Salvation Army at 250-386-3366.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Head of Victoria homebuilders says provincial budget won’t solve housing crisis

Casey Edge of Victoria Residential Builders Association dismisses more modular housing as a band-aid

Oak Bay one step closer to deer immunocontraceptive test

Up to 80 deer could be given ‘birth control’ vaccine in the fall

Parents still seek clarity for future of Victor School

Motion avoided to remove special needs Victor School from boundary review proposal

Two missing Victoria children found safe

VicPD responded to two separate missing children calls Tuesday

Study moves Oak Bay closer to contraceptive control for problem deer

The report says between 78 and 128 black tail deer live in the affluent beach-side community

VIDEO: Massive elk herd runs across Washington State highway

Elk have been making an appearance in the Pacific Northwest

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Winter storm freezes U.S., halts air travel

Storm dumps snow or heavy rain, snarls travel in much of U.S.

Gwyneth Paltrow: Skier sued me to exploit my fame, wealth

The incident happened in Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

Most Read