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International news briefs: 15 February

The bus in Essex, England, is making a big difference for people struggling to make ends meet.

 UK Salvos launch ‘Stuff on the Bus’

The Salvation Army launched Stuff on the Bus on Canvey Island, Essex County, late last year. Stuff on the Bus is a new mobile community supermarket where customers can get discounted food from a refurbished double-decker bus. 

Responding to the rising cost of food, The Salvation Army is working in partnership with Essex County Council and Feeding Britain by jointly funding this initiative, which aims to bring some relief to local people who are struggling to make ends meet.

Stuff on the Bus was launched in Essex County in October 2023.

Holly Alberici, Pioneer Leader of The Salvation Army on Canvey Island, said she believes the new service will make a significant impact. Customers have the opportunity to buy items at a greatly reduced price after paying a £5 ($AUD9.70) annual sign-on fee.

“We are hoping to fill in the gap between food bank and supermarket,” she said. “People can jump on board and get what they need. Rising food prices are impacting more and more people and I’m looking forward to the community using the bus in a welcoming and non-judgmental environment.”

The supermarket will be on the bottom deck of the bus while the top deck will have facilities including a mobile banking unit, Employment Plus, a service run by The Salvation Army to help people become job-ready, and a wellbeing coach. 

The new Stuff on the Bus service will initially run for two days a week. A personal shopper service will be offered for customers living with a disability.

The bus can reach community residents who may not otherwise be able to make trips to a local supermarket. It offers the same shopping experience with people able to stock up on a variety of fresh food and household items at much reduced prices.


Salvos serving in Ukraine

Corps Leader Natalia Rak (left corner) leads the Bible study.

Despite living in a warzone with missile and drone attacks increasing, Salvation Army corps continue to support people spiritually, emotionally and, as much as they can, physically as well.

In the Dnipro Corps, around 350 people were assisted with essential clothing and given the opportunity to ‘shop’ themselves from donated items.

We thank God for the opportunity to serve and support people during these trying times,” said Corps Leader, Natalia Rak.


Making a difference in Mandeville


Mandeville Corps in Jamaica, Caribbean Territory, runs a vegetable farm project to help support vulnerable people in their communities.

Vegetable gardens at Mandeville Corps support local community feeding projects.

Their crops include tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, yams, sweet potatoes, red peas and corn. The rich and fertile soil continues to produce a bountiful harvest of crops.


“A huge percentage of the produce is used in the community, especially among the many single-parent families and homeless people that the corps supports as part of their social program,” said Lieut Junior St Cyr, corps officer.

The Divisional Commander of Eastern Jamaica, Major Boyeke Nana Agyemang, said that Lieutenants Junior and Roslyn are hardworking officers and many wonderful things are happening there. “I am quite hopeful that other officers, especially those in rural communities, will contact The Salvation Army Projects Department and take advantage of opportunities of this nature,” he said.



Responding to wildfires in Chile


A long drought followed by exceptional heat and wind brought deadly blazes that ripped with devastating speed through the coastal town of Viña del Mar, Chile, earlier this month.


Tragically, the lethal wildfires have taken the lives of more than 100 people, with hundreds missing as the death toll climbs. Whole neighbourhoods have been reduced to ashes, and around 15,000 residences have been left in ruins.

The Salvation Army is assisting in the aftermath of deadly fires in Chile.

The Salvation Army in Valparaiso is part of the Emergency Commission and has contributed two essential projects:


Feeding Locations: The Salvation Army teams are providing hot meals in two locations and offering additional support to affected families.


Emergency Housing: 3650 families have lost their homes to the wildfires. The Salvation Army has been assisting in the provision of 50 prefabricated houses. Colonel Alex Nesterenko, Territorial Commander, South America West, has emphasised the need for additional (shelter) support.


“Given the urgency of the situation, many families are in shelters due to a lack of housing, so it is essential to provide them with a home as soon as possible,” he said.




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