Thunder Bay

UFCW locals donate new van to Thunder Bay's Shelter House

Thunder Bay's Shelter House will be restarting its Street Outreach Services program with a new set of wheels thanks to a donation from two union locals.

New van will be used for SOS program

United Food and Commercial Workers locals 175 and 633 have donated a new Sprinter van to Thunder Bay's Shelter House. The van will be used for the agency's SOS program. (Shelter House/Provided)

Thunder Bay's Shelter House will be restarting its Street Outreach Services program with a new set of wheels thanks to a donation from two union locals.

United Food and Commercial Workers locals 175 and 633 have donated a 2016 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter passenger van to the agency, which will soon be on the road.

"We're proud to be a part of the community in Thunder Bay," said union spokesperson Tim Deelstra. "This work that Shelter House did just was a perfect opportunity for us to find a group that was doing good work in the community, that we were able to support."

Shelter House executive director Michelle Jordan said the donation is a "huge" thing for Shelter House.

"The generosity is amazing," she said.

Shelter House does have another van, which is normally used for the SOS program; however, the program has been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the other Shelter House van is currently being used for different tasks.

"We ended up securing funding from the federal government to do isolation overflow and triage and transportation," Jordan said. "We're funded for that program up until January, so we kind of needed another van if we wanted to put our [SOS] service back on the road."

With the new van, Jordan said she hopes the SOS service will be back up and running in the next few weeks.

"We have to do a few safety features on the van," she said. "We have to put a light in and get, you know, Plexiglass put in and that sort of stuff to keep our workers and our clients safe."

Jordan said new safety protocols for the program need to be developed, as well, if the SOS program is going to be operating during the pandemic.

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