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May6ThuMobile unit meets the needs of community members where they are. May 6, 2021 by Kristin Ostensen
The Salvation Army in Ajax, Ont., is now giving hope today on the go, thanks to a new program. Launched in April, Hope on Wheels is a mobile unit that meets the needs of community members where they are. The program currently operates on Wednesday evenings, delivering food and essential supplies to people in downtown Ajax, with plans to expand to nearby communities Pickering and Uxbridge, Ont., in the near future.
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- Territorial News
The project has been in the works for two years, since the Ajax Mayor’s Gala in May 2019. Prior to the event, Mayor Shaun Collier approached Captains Jason and Tammy Sabourin, corps officers at Hope Community Church, asking what The Salvation Army would do with funding to combat homelessness.
Their proposal was a versatile response vehicle—Hope on Wheels. “The vehicle had to be multi-purpose, multi-use, so we get the best value for the dollar,” Captain Jason Sabourin explains.
The Army’s proposal was accepted and they received a $50,000 grant from the Mayor’s Gala in 2019. More funding from various sources followed, totalling $100,000 in all.
With a multi-purpose philosophy in mind, the Hope on Wheels vehicle is not only capable of serving food and drinks. It features collapsible shelves, which can be used to turn the vehicle into a mobile food bank. It also has benches and a fold-down table with computer capabilities, so the vehicle can be used as an intake office or command post. Captain Sabourin sees it being used for everything from emergency disaster services to outdoor events.
“We are pretty excited about the possibilities,” he says, “not only to help relieve the burdens people have, but also go deeper and build relationships. We’re going out there because God cares about people and they’re valuable regardless of the situation they find themselves in. It’s not just a matter of getting food to somebody—we’re taking a holistic approach.”