Victoria Sally Ann’s workhorse bus needs replacing

Beacon Bus crew attend numerous emergency and social service missions

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 to raise $100,000 to buy a replacement van and retrofit it with 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 co-ordinator 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 families in need.

“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 bawling 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,” he said.

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

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

The City of Victoria is proposing a northern contraction from Haultain Street to Bay Street with a western contraction from Cook Street to Chambers Street for Fernwood. (Illustration/Google Maps)
Community association calls for input on Victoria boundary changes

City of Victoria proposes changes to neighbourhood borders

After seizing a handgun from his home on Tuesday, Victoria police arrested a wanted man on Wednesday after he fled officers on his bike. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man wanted on several warrants flees Victoria officers on bike

He was arrested after a brief struggle, transported to hospital with injuries

Divyesh Nagarajan, third from the left, has founded the Be My Friend project to bring support and companionship to vulnerable youth and address North Saanich’s food security challenges. (Courtesy of Divyesh Nagarajan)
Greater Victoria teen looks to connect vulnerable youth with a buddy, bolster food security

Be My Friend project was founded by St. Michaels University School student Divyesh Nagarajan

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Gorge skull fragment could bring closure to one Greater Victoria missing person case

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

(Black Press Media file photo)
UPDATE: Sooke Road reopens after gas leak at Colwood Corners

SD62 warns afternoon buses could be delayed

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

A nurse asks screening questions at an immunization appointment in Nanaimo earlier this year. (Shawn Wagar/Island Health photo)
Island Health appreciates nurses answering the call in challenging times

Health authority draws attention to National Nursing Week

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu on May 8. (Black Press Media file photo)
Indigenous woman shot by police was holding a replica gun, says Ucluelet First Nation

Woman has been identified as a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

Most Read