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Salvation Army clarifies usage of EDS unit

The Salvation Army EDS unit in action, delivering a hot lunch to PAB Town workers last August, 2022. – © File photo / Wreckhouse Press Inc.

By Jaymie L. White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

PORT AUX BASQUES — A little over a year ago, the local Salvation Army received its new emergency disaster services (EDS) mobile trailer unit. The unit is to help support Salvation Army services throughout the Southwest coast region, although it can be deployed anywhere as deemed necessary. “We took that on initially because we felt that the nine areas are not being serviced. So we tried to take it out as much as we can and we did two last year, last summer, last fall, so that was done. We hadn’t been back because winter came and we don’t take it out wintertime for obvious reasons, unless it’s an emergency. If it’s an emergency it will go wherever it’s required, but not just to take out food bank items,” explained David Harvey, Ministry Lead for the Salvation Army in Port aux Basques. The unit is not meant to deployed on a regular basis, but it does service the region as needed. “The Food Bank Service is going to go out again with some extra toiletry that’s left over from the Fiona process. Also we’re taking what we call a pop-up thrift store. So basically, some of the items that were left over, the clothing and that, will also be available as well for folks who are running to pick it up and at no cost to them,” explained Harvey. “It’s not meant to be used all the time. That’s the reason behind the emergency disaster services trailer.” The unit is not just bound to service this region of the province. “It can be pulled at any moment to go anywhere that the EDS in Newfoundland requires it to go. So basically, the intention was that when the government funding came through – and we weren’t here at the time – there was an agreement or there was something in that contract that said that it had to be used as much as we could to assist,” said Harvey. “We did do two runs out to the outlying areas in the fall. Fiona hit and it hasn’t stopped. We used it to help with Fiona efforts in the community when that was going on. Actually, it’s very interesting because on the eighth of this month, it’s already booked to go out to the outlying areas again to distribute some other things.” The EDS trailer was also used to bolster community relations by appearing at events. “We used it four or five times. We had it at the park down here at Rainbow Park. We did a youth day. We did a meal for the town folks at the town hall and all of the workers there. We used it when Fiona was here a couple of times. We’ve used it out down in South Branch and down to Margaree, in that area,” said Harvey. “So it’s being used a number of times. We use it for Halloween down here. We use it for customer appreciation day down here by the store. It’s been around a number of times, not just twice, so it’s being used. It’s just that we have to remember that it is emergency disaster services trailer and, even though it may be a mobile unit and maybe use it for a feeding mobile, we can do that if the need arises, but it’s not necessarily for food bank services and food bank items.” The public is always able to drop by and check out the trailer and have a chat about services. “If people wish to come by and see the trailer and see what it’s about, it isn’t an open concept trailer. It has a cooler. It has stoves. It has big coffee pots. It has big sinks. It’s a storage unit. It’s a kitchen. It’s a mobile unit. It isn’t a travel food bank, travel trailer. It’s not meant for that. So people are more than welcome to come down and go by, see what it looks like, walk through it, and do a guided tour,” offered Harvey. In February, the Salvation Army also received a donation of a new truck to assist with hauling the trailer, as their old one was no longer able to do so, but the old truck is still being used. “That Dodge Ram is 2014. We took it initially, went to St. John’s to pick up our new EDS trailer that had come in between St. John’s and Gander. When the trailer returned, the truck just basically bent in a V along with the trailer and my wife and I drove the whole distance not realizing that that trailer hitch had released,” said Harvey. “We’re fortunate that nothing happened and we weren’t killed in the process. Now that truck is still around, it is totally inadequate, or was totally inadequate to pull the trailer. That trailer, when it’s full, is close to 10,000 pounds. So you couldn’t go up or down hills. It was just straining all the way through. So the truck, because you still see it around, is that we had invested a fair amount of money to bring it up to drivable condition and keep it that way before we got our new one and the truck doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to Emergency Disaster Services, Newfoundland, Salvation Army. That means they own the vehicle. We can’t sell it. We can’t give it away. We can’t do anything with it. We invested the money and so I wasn’t willing to kind of turn it back to them and let them make money off it on our expense. So come the spring when the license runs out, when the insurance runs out, the truck runs out. It goes back to where they want it, to the truck graveyard somewhere that I don’t know. So that’s why you see it around, and the new one, we’ve obviously replaced it and does really well pulling that trailer and everything we need.” A new garage is also in the works. “That will depend on total funding. We financially cannot afford to build a garage, so if somebody is questioning that, whether they thinking some of the funding that we received through Fiona, through the process is going to help with that issue, it is not. There is not one penny that goes to help with any of that. This is all totally government-funded and corporate-funded if we can get it. The reason we asked for it, because that trailer realistically needs to be in out of the weather in the wintertime. If something should happen and we need to use it in the wintertime, it is totally not serviceable because we have cleaned it, winterized it and basically put it away because we have nowhere to store it,” explained Harvey. “The reason behind the garage was simply because of that. I asked if there was any way that we could possibly find funding through government funding or through corporate industries that would help put this thing up. That’s where that stands. Now, we don’t have the funding. We do have certain amount of funding that’s come through the government, so we can do the prep work for the ground. We can dig a hole. We can fill it in and we can put a level ground on it. So that will give us somewhere to park the trailer out of our parking lot, but it still won’t be enclosed.” The location for a new garage would likely be very close to the Salvation Army’s current building in Grand Bay. “There is a property that’s beyond it that we own – 20 feet wide. We’re putting a garage, probably, I think it’s 16 to 17 feet by 50 feet. That’s the plan, but that may or may not materialize. It will depend on total funding,” explained Harvey. “It’s up in the air. I have categorically told the powers of DHQ in St. John’s and the folks that we’re dealing with that. We will not do anything until we have all funding in place.”

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