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Salvos on the road to drive mission in outer Portland

Salvos on the road to drive mission in outer Portland

Salvos on the road to drive mission in outer Portland

19 August 2020

Portland Corps Officer Lieutenant Peter Stamp and Portland Aluminium community relations manager Anna Impey celebrate the Salvos’ new community bus.

By Lauren Martin

It’s long been a vision of Salvationists in Portland to come alongside and minister to people living in townships outside of the remote and picturesque city in south-west Victoria.

Now, thanks to a generous donation, a mobile mission bus has been purchased and is being fitted out as a regional support vehicle for The Salvation Army.

Portland Aluminium secured more than $70,000 in funding from the Alcoa Foundation, the global charitable arm of Portland’s parent company Alcoa. The funds will allow The Salvation Army in Portland to provide an immediate response to those impacted by COVID-19, along with ongoing emergency support and social services to not only Portland but the surrounding townships of Heywood, Casterton, Merino, Dartmoor and Nelson.

“Some of these places are an hour’s drive or more from Portland,” said Lieutenant Peter Stamp, Portland Corps Officer. “Many people move to these places because accommodation is more affordable, but when they move there, they realise they don’t have the support that they need. We felt a prompting from God about two years ago, a real calling to minister to these areas and to reach out to those in need.”

So, the corps began to raise money through the Red Shield Appeal local funding initiative and prayed that God would make a way for The Salvation Army to extend its ministry to outlying towns.

When COVID-19 hit earlier this year, any idea of an expansion in ministry would have seemed impossible. But, Peter and his wife Lieutenant Heather and their team, knew that with God, nothing is impossible. The donation came just at the right time when the area was hurting even more due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent recession.

Portland Aluminium community relations manager, Anna Impey and Salvation Army Portland Lieutenant Peter Stamp inside the new community bus.

“There is real excitement within the corps that we can finally meet the need that’s been placed on our hearts. All of a sudden, we have been given the ability to essentially plant The Salvation Army in five new locations!” said Peter.

“This project will allow The Salvation Army to not only increase the support available immediately to those who need assistance but also work with agencies to develop a mobile service that can deliver much-needed social, health, food and essential services through the purchase and transformation of a city bus into a regional support vehicle.”

The bus will be fitted out as a mobile mission with the front a walk-through Thrift Store for free and affordable clothing, and the back into an office where Salvation Army Doorways and other essential services and agencies can operate from.

Peter and Heather are working alongside various agencies, health services, local community and Indigenous groups to share the mission space for the maximum benefit of the communities that are visited. “It’s envisaged that when the bus visits a township, it will have the capacity to provide hot drinks and meals in addition to the range of services,” Peter said.

Portland Aluminium Plant Manager Ron Jorgensen said the funding couldn’t have come at a better time for members of the local community experiencing hardship: “We recognise the significant community need that has arisen as a result of COVID-19. We are delighted to work with The Salvation Army over the next year to support the people of Portland and surrounding communities who find themselves in need as a result of the crisis.”

The fit-out of the bus is expected to be complete in time for the annual Heywood-Portland Christmas toy run.

 

 

 

 

 

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