by the CCM Van
This article is part of our appeal for a replacement van. If you'd like to donate, you can do so here.
First thing Monday morning, once I’ve coughed into life, I’m up and off for my usual trip to CostCo. There, I’ll be stuffed full of food that’s coming up to its use-by date. (It would go to waste otherwise!) Once I’m full up, it’s back to the Wild Goose to unload. Then Jean, our wonderful cook, will set to work on whatever I’ve dropped off.
Occasionally, I have time for a quick mid-morning pit-stop. However, we might still be short on supplies, so if there’s anything we need I trundle over to the supermarket. 9 times out of 10, it’s for milk. We get through gallons of the stuff! I’m told that things are always better with a nice cup of tea – although I personally prefer unleaded.
In the latter half of the week, we sometimes get more food than we know what to do with. But rather than letting it go to waste, I’ll drop off what we don’t need at another homeless charity.
My afternoons can vary. There are the regular supermarket pick-ups for the foodbank, and then I could be off to schools, churches and businesses to pick up more donations. I also moonlight as a removal man, helping clients move into accommodation. That’s hard work but so worth it as I am helping people at the end of a long journey into a place of their own. I also transport donated furniture to help them get set up. It’s difficult to make a go of it if you’ve been homeless and just moved into an unfurnished place with no money to buy anything and no support.
During my four years working for Crisis Centre Ministries, I’ve made over 1,000 trips to the cash and carry, and around 600 trips for the foodbank. I haven’t kept count of the supermarket trips, donation pick-ups or house moving. All I know is that I don’t often have a spare minute! Not even at Christmas and New Year, as I lend my services to Caring at Christmas.
It’s the best job I’ve ever had (though the parking can be a bit of a nightmare). Like many of our long-term volunteers, it’s seen me work well into what would usually be my retirement. But it’s time for a younger set of wheels to take my place. I was already getting on a bit when I took the job, so I’m hoping to be traded in for a younger model!
To all of my regular volunteer drivers: we’ve had some scrapes and near-misses, and several false starts (though my ignition is to blame for that). But day after day, we’ve helped so many people all over Bristol. Thank you. A van couldn’t ask for more.
“Cheers, Drive!” is a Bristolian phrase used to thank a bus driver upon alighting from a bus.
Our services simply wouldn’t be able to run without our van. But it’s on its last legs, and the repair bills are getting higher and higher. That’s why we need your help in replacing it.
We are hoping to raise funds to buy an almost-new vehicle or to lease a vehicle for several years. Please donate to help us replace this essential workhorse!