United Way launches mobile outreach program

Chatham-Kent Non-profit Centre coordinator Scott Roose is pictured with the United Way mobile outreach van. (Photo courtesy of United Way)

When getting help to people living on the streets presents a challenge, put the help on a pair of wheels.

That’s the idea behind the United Way’s new mobile outreach program Van with a Plan, which will be announcing its launch Friday, August 13 at Pit Crew Cafe in Blenheim.

United Way Acting CEO Patricia Peters says the new van is a shared-use, multi-agency vehicle that supports organizations in connecting Chatham’s most vulnerable to the supports they need.

The program will assist in delivering harm reduction supplies, meals, counselling, and more across Chatham-Kent. Peter says the van will be accessible to all social service agencies working in and serving the community.

“Our human services sector identified transportation as a priority in Chatham-Kent and then some amazing donors and local businesses got together to make it happen,” said Peters. “Innovative solutions like Van With a Plan happen when we engage with our community and learn to listen.”

According to Peters, the mobile outreach program is part of the United Way’s development of a new business model. She said the organization is shifting its focus into the community by listening to minority groups to determine what is needed most in the community.

“It’s a pilot project and we are going to learn as we go along,” said Peters. “As a United Way, we are going to get you where you need to go and help people wherever they are. While we don’t offer those services, we are supporting every organization that does.”

The launch will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pit Crew Cafe in Blenheim. The United Way will be collecting non-perishables for the Blenheim Soup Kitchen, and will include a free hot dog with every donation.

Pit Crew Cafe will be serving up a lunch special and donating a portion of each sale to the United Way.

“We encourage residents to make their way to Blenheim and check out the van,” said Peters.