By Jaymie L. White
Special to Wreckhouse Press
PORT AUX BASQUES – On Tuesday afternoon, May 10, the Salvation Army unveiled their new emergency disaster services mobile trailer unit, a trailer that is specifically equipped to help the organization extend their services not only within the town, but the surrounding areas as well.
Major René Loveless with the Salvation Army offered thanks to the Government of Canada for assisting with the $104,000 in funding needed to acquire the unit, as well as Oceanex, which donated the shipping of the unit from Montreal where it was manufactured.
“Emergency disaster services is a strategic priority for the Salvation Army in our province. We are building up our resources to be better equipped and prepared to respond in emergency situations and to work collaboratively with community leaders and partners in reaching out to our hurting neighbours and having a transforming influence in the communities where we serve,” said Loveless.
Loveless said the reality of having the new mobile unit is another significant step forward and gives added resources and diversity in the ability and capacity of the Salvation Army to respond in times of need.
“It is my opportunity to tell you today that, with this new unit, we’re here. We’re here to support first responders as they carry out their demanding and challenging work. In particular, we’re here to come alongside firefighters, police, as we’re called upon. We’re here for when natural disasters may occur, to give help even in the darkest and most difficult situations.”
David Harvey Lead Ministry of the Salvation Army said the unit is fully contained with freezers, coolers, warmers, a generator, sinks, and a coffee maker. He said the only thing it doesn’t contain is a stove.
“It’s so important for the emergency disaster process if something should happen within the area, whether it is floods again or other disasters, we can basically take the unit and pull up to wherever it is and help, especially first responders, in a very practical way.”
Harvey said it will be extremely useful in assisting communities outside of Port Aux Basques as well.
“Our food bank is in Town, but we have a number of folks that come in from the Valley, South Branch and other areas, now we can basically take it on a regular basis and go out to these areas, saving folks from having to spend gas, find a way to get in, or find someone else to pick it up and drop it off to them. We can actually be present on a day, and they can come and see us right there, in the community.”
Harvey said the trailer can be used for purposes outside of food as well.
“There may be an opportunity somewhere along the way, if we want to throw a clothes rack in it and throw some clothes on it, take it out, and then they can actually get clothes from the trailer. That will save folks from trying to find something they need from here, Corner Brook, and elsewhere. Instead of being specific with just the food, I want to stretch the boundaries a bit and see how folks will respond to other services that we could add to that as well.”
Harvey said the feeling within the Salvation Army surrounding the acquisition of the trailer is positive.
“We’re extremely excited. We waited for over a year trying to get it in. Like anything there’s logistics, coming in from Quebec, coming to St. John’s and then picking it up and getting it here. But overall we’re proud and extremely excited to have it here. More importantly, it gives us an opportunity to really service the community and the surrounding area in any capacity that people want. If there is a need in any of the outlying communities, we can take it and we can go.”
Mayor Brian Button said this is another testimony to the Salvation Army and the work they do, especially when it comes to disasters in the area or during times of need.
“For this entire area, when it goes along with the resources that we have for emergency purposes such as our fire departments, the Salvation Army is certainly a big part. They are the first people to call when things have happened. They reach out and are right there to lend a helping hand. We never know when a disaster is going to happen, but we can always count on the Salvation Army being there.”