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

UPDATE: Serious crash sends two to hospital, closes Cook Street in both directions

Police have taped off intersection as investigation continues

Regina Park tent city residents win first round of legal battle

Injunction adjourned for Saanich’s tent city

V2V ferry service to add daily trips from Vancouver to Victoria for fall

New routes will move home base to the mainland, allow guests more time in Victoria

The ride of a lifetime

RCMP officer Rusty Olsen shares experience with Musical Ride

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Smokey skies across Vancouver Island expected to last until Wednesday

The province of B.C. has issued a special bulletin for all of Vancouver Island

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Most Read