The Salvation Army’s Dandenong Corps in Victoria is bringing hope to the community’s homeless and at-risk population, through its new “Hope Van” initiative.
The van, donated by Envision Employment, a local work-for-the-dole provider, is used to provide meals and tea and coffee once a week to people in Dandenong who need extra support.
“I think a lot of people recognise that there was a real need for an assertive outreach-type program [in Dandenong],” said the corps’ youth pastor, Isaac Mead.
“One of the things we really want to do is meet immediate need, but more importantly reach people who would otherwise not come into services so that we can engage them with other programs that can help break cycles rather than just providing a band-aid solution.”
Isaac joined the corps as youth pastor earlier this year and immediately set about the task of developing the Hope Van initiative. Since its launch in February, the van has assisted more than 300 people who are either homeless, in temporary housing, or are living in overcrowded rentals.
The corps has approached the new initiative with enthusiasm, recognising that it embraces the call of The Salvation Army to seek the lost.
“The Hope Van is so important because as The Salvation Army I believe Jesus has called us to be a movement that reaches an immediate need,” said Isaac.
“There are a lot of people in the community of Dandenong who are struggling and have no idea of what step to take next, or accessing a service [by phone or internet] is not possible. The fact we can go out and be in a public space in a non-threatening way to engage people is hugely important.”