Stolen van not the birthday present Surrey’s Nightshift Street Ministries hoped for

Charity "limping by" without "trusty" van but can't for much longer, says founder

Nightshift Street Ministries founder MaryAnne Connor during food service outside their Whalley facility last year. The charity's cargo van was stolen on Jan. 1 and they're 'limping' by without it

SURREY — A stolen van wasn’t the birthday present Nightshift Street Ministries had hoped for but that’s what it got.

“There’s never a boring moment at the ministry,” said founder MaryAnne Connor. “It just seems you get up and you get going, you take two steps forward and 10 steps back. But good always comes out.”

The Whalley-based charity’s “trusty” cargo van was stolen from South Surrey some time between New Year’s Eve and 7 a.m. Jan. 1, 2016.

“It’s the van that goes out every single day that we use to pick up donated food items, blankets, toques, socks,” explained Connor. “To be without it for three days is a big deal for us.”

They’re “limping by” without it, but can’t for much longer, said Connor.

She added, “The ironic thing is this is our birthday – today, Jan. 4. We started in a snowstorm 12 years ago.”

The decade-old van was found near 135th Street and 77th Avenue on Jan. 2 but Nightshift hasn’t been able to see it as police have been fingerprinting the vehicle.

“It’s pretty damaged,” said Connor. She’s been told the door panels are missing and the locks, ignition and dash have been vandalized.

“So we’re not sure if it’s reparable or not. In any event, it’s something we can’t afford to fix. It will depend on what ICBC will cover.”

They run on a tight budget, Connor added.

“It’s pretty heartbreaking when the fundraising we pursue to provide programs for people hurting and lonely, living in poverty or without a roof, has to be rerouted to repairing damages or replacing the wheels to support those services.”

Overcoming obstacles is something the grassroots organization is more than accustomed to. They faced city and neighbourhood opposition in their humble beginnings.

“We just keep jumping over hurdles,” said Connor. “But something good always happens, so we must be doing something right. I always have hope.”

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