The Bellarine Salvos Outreach Van is taking Salvos like Andrew Fitzpatrick and Bailey James on a road trip to people in need.
ANDREW SAYS: I’ve been involved at the Salvos for about four and half years now. It started out with the Salvo Resto program (a program partnering with Drysdale Smash Repairs designed to train young people in the skills of panel beating). A friend of mine who was already involved with youth group got in touch and asked if I wanted to come along, and I just kept going.
The van came out of the youth group. When our corps officer (minister) Peter said he was starting up the van I thought it would be a good way to give back to the community, so I got involved.
The program helps people who are going through a tough time, linking them to support services, and providing them with urgent supplies like toilet paper. It gives people a base to stand on when they are trying to build themselves back up.
Being involved has given me a lot of experience interacting with people, and it’s helped build my confidence. And it’s allowed me get involved in the community a bit more. I’ve been part of it since the beginning and I’m going to continue helping out as much as I can.
BAILEY SAYS: I know first-hand how much difference it can make knowing someone cares, and the way in which God’s love has transformed my life, so it’s great to be able to do that for others.
The people we meet through the van often tell us how grateful they are that we are willing to give up our time to help out, but it’s been really good for me, too. I’m a pretty shy person so it’s been great to have to go out and talk to people, and I’ve been able to get to know people that I’d probably never have met.
A lot of the people we talk to are single guys who have left their homes to try and sort out their issues and get their life back on track. Some of them are sleeping in their cars or by the side of the road. We always let them know that we are happy to come back and often they’ll hang around in the same location so we can. But sometimes people move on for other reasons and don’t let us know.
There’s a real need out there; we don’t have the resources to do as much as we’d like, but we do what we can. The Salvos helped change my life, so now I want to do the same for others.