Going into 2020, our goal is to raise $76000 so we can stay in operation 4 afternoon/evenings per week and continue to offer a full complement of programs; responding to the changing needs of the population we serve. To do so we need your help. There are many ways to give.Read More
We have initiated a new Water Resources Program on the Care-a-Van. We are now offering shower passes, laundry tickets, and drinking water.
Special thanks to Erin at The Laundry on Cliffe Ave who has helped us to make passes, donated soap and has contributed clothing and washed countless sleeping bags in their jumbo machines. And thank you Gunter at Wiseland for his contribution of Lewis Center Shower passes and drinking water.
The cold weather is approaching and the Care-A-Van is looking for donations of men's and women's winter coats, warm socks, long underwear, gloves and new underwear (women's small and medium). If you can help, please drop them off at Sunwest RV - 2800 Cliffe Ave in Courtenay.
The Comox Rotary Club is very happy to be able to donate the 10K to you at the Bay Care Society! The Comox Rotary Club is committed to helping end homelessness in the Comox Valley - you guys do great work for people.
Pictured is Stu Tunheim - Assistant Governor Area 2 Rotary District 5020, representing the Rotary Club of Comox, Sabina Acheson - Care-A-Van Coordinator.
From Comox Valley Record - June 14, 2017
They help serve those who may not have access to medical care and treatment, and now the Comox Valley Care-A-Van is seeking help from the larger community.
The Comox Bay Society Care-A-Van’s mobile outreach heath unit, which provides no fee health care to clients on the street of the Comox Valley, is desperately seeking a home for its 32-foot RV when not in use.
The mobile health care unit requires an electrical outlet to keep an auxiliary battery charged, and at minimum, a 12-foot high clearance covered space to keep the unit clean and dry.
Ideally, the location would be near the downtown core or within a 15km radius of downtown, explained Sabina Acheson, co-ordinator of the Care-A-Van.
She explained after years of generosity from the Pizzy family, the unit is seeking a new home, for at least one year.
“It would be great to have a space where we would be able to store a couple of Rubbermaid bins conveniently alongside the van, where volunteers can check stock and it allows people to load right on the spot.”
Normally, the van runs three times a week, and cleaners would show up the morning of a route or the night before to restock and clean, Acheson said. The organization, which has 12 volunteer drivers – would require a space for drivers to keep their vehicles nearby, but that could include parking on a road.
The Care-A-Van first hit the streets of the Comox Valley in 2009, offering two programs – primary health care and clothing.
Over the years, it has evolved to include optometry, dental, denture and counselling programs, along with many others. A variety of service providers donate their services for no or minimal-cost.
The concept of a mobile heath unit for the disadvantaged came from nurse Helen Boyd. Boyd has since retired from co-ordinating the van, but Barry Willis of Sunwest RV Centre – who donated and maintains the RV – explained Boyd “finally wore me down” and Willis built the unit in his shop.
“We’ve never built a mobile hospital before,” he added, and credited both Boyd and Acheson for leading the program, and for the more than 50 volunteers who “have the passion to make it happen. None of this would have happened without Helen.”
The Care-A-Van has served 1,388 people since its inception in 2009, and they helped 336 new clients last year alone.
In addition to a location for the RV, the society is also seeking donations for lightly used summer clothes and shoes, underwear for men and women, and lightly used camping gear.
To contact the Care-A-Van, or reach out with a location for the RV, call 250-702-7011, email email@example.com, or visit their Facebook page at Comox Bay Care Society.
From Comox Valley Record April 22, 2017
Safer options for those using illicit substances in the Comox Valley are growing, as is the reality of overdosing and death from opioids.
A report from the BC Coroners Service released this year shows the largest increase of illicit drug deaths among B.C. regions was on Vancouver Island, with 155 opioid overdose deaths in 2016 – a 156 per cent increase from 2015.
Of those, 23 overdose deaths occurred on the North Island.
Recently, the Courtenay office of AIDS Vancouver Island became the first recognized safe injection site in the Comox Valley.
AIDS Vancouver Island works in conjunction with a number of service providers, one of which is the Care-A-Van, the mobile outreach health unit from the Comox Bay Care Society.
They are considered a secondary distributor, and help in suppling kits for safer drug use.
Nurse Sabina Acheson, the co-ordinator of the Care-A-Van, says the society acknowledges people in the Valley are using illicit substances, and one of their roles is to provide other options for individuals and to promote individual harm reduction strategies.
“We want to bring services and allow people to access them where they live … harm reduction is one of 10 programs that we offer. We don’t work under the assumption that people have the same medical and social needs; everyone has the right to have their needs acknowledged.”
The object of the Care-A-Van is to provide no fee health care and social development services directly to clients on the streets of the Comox Valley.
Their mobile unit operates three days a week, and has serviced 1,388 people since 2009. That number has increased significantly last year – in 2016, 336 new individuals received service on the van.
They operate with the assistance of 50 volunteers – nurses, doctors, pharmacists, dentists, a legal advocate and more.
The Care-A-Van travels to various sites around the area which are most helpful to reach those who need it most. One of the locations the unit visits is outside the BC Housing-owned Washington Inn apartments located on Ryan Road.
Harm reduction kits are given out there if required and in other locations the unit travels, and Acheson explains building relationships and giving clean supplies and access to services is part of their harm reduction approach.
“People can make informed decisions about what’s best for their health – we offer teaching points but we’re not driving an agenda. We’re saying: ‘yes, we know you do drugs, but it’s not my place to judge.’”
The supplies also help in decreasing the costs to the health care system, she adds, by helping reduce blood-born illnesses, treating wounds and more.
Some residents of the Washington Inn have stepped forward to The Record with their concerns of finding used needles around the building – a problem they say has increased in the past months.
Acheson notes the Care-A-Van offers the services to return used needles in a safe manner, and encourages organizations, buildings and businesses to install sharps containers for safe disposal of used injections.
While the initiative might seem surprising to some, she acknowledges, the idea falls in line with other public health initiatives, especially those in public institutions.
“There was a period of time where there were no sanitary supplies for girls in schools or condoms in the washrooms.”
She says BC Housing supports the society’s services with their clients and their principal of bringing access to services where they live. They also follow the core principals of harm reduction from the BC Centre for Disease Control, she adds.
The Care-A-Van now carries naloxone kits onboard and she says the unit is another agency that’s mobile and can interact with people.
“We’re providing a point of care for those where access is sometimes not available.”
For more information on the Care-A-Van visit cvcareavan.ca or visit their Facebook page by searching Comox Bay Care Society.
The Care-A-Van will become homeless at the end of June. After years of generosity from the Pizzzy's we need to find a new undercover home to park our 32 foot van when it is not in use. We require an electrical outlet to keep our auxiliary battery charged. If you have such a space in the downtown Courtenay area, please speak to the coordinator about specs and in-kind tax receipt options.
It's coming around again. SOCK SALE TIME 2016. At Carderos in Courtenay,
Thursday, Friday & Saturday November 10, 11 & 12. 11:30-2:30.
Time to REMEMBER those who live on our streets and help get keep their feet warm and dry. You buy a pair of our hand-knit socks and the $ goes to buying socks for those dealing with homelessness in our community.
Update: Comox Valley Sock It To 'Em Project donated 235 pair of socks and 14 pair of long-johns to the Care A Van, Aids Vancouver Island and The Nursing Centre. Many thanks to the knitters and the public for their ongoing support.
Learn more about the project and how you can get involved here.
Comox Valley Record, May 31st, 2016
June 30, 2016 will mark the end of a long magnificent journey for Helen Boyd. She is the founder and creator of the Care-a-Van, a mobile health-care clinic for the Comox Valley.