December 18 –The Care Bus, an essential service for Thunder Bay’s vulnerable population during the hard winter months, is set to resume operations Thursday, December 21, 2023. Partnered with the Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre and with generous support from the Métis Nation of Ontario, the Care Bus, led by NorWest Community Health Centres (NorWest CHC), recommits to providing crucial health and social support services.

This initiative plays a vital role in supplying essentials to those in need and facilitating transportation to warming centres and local shelters. The Care Bus embodies the collaborative spirit of the NorWest CHC’s commitment to delivering high-quality integrated care, striving to improve the health and well-being of individuals within our community.

CEO of NorWest CHC, Juanita Lawson expressed immense gratitude for the partnership. “We extend our deepest appreciation to the Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre for collaborating with the Métis Nation of Ontario Youth Services Outreach Team and John Howard Society of Thunder Bay,” said Lawson. “We also extend our sincere appreciation for the crucial collaboration and funding provided by The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board (TBDSSAB) and the Lakehead Social Planning Council (LSPC). Without their invaluable support, the upcoming 2023/2024 Care Bus season would not be possible.”

“The Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre’s vision is to strengthen a sense of sharing and belonging, said Katie Bortolin, Director of Housing at Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre. “We are happy to actively collaborate and provide front line support and care to our most vulnerable community members.”

During the 2022/2023 season, the Care Bus made a substantial impact through its essential services. This included 5,827 clients served at an average of 62 clients per day, with 618 referrals and 100 days of service. The main reasons clients reported for riding the bus was having a warm or safe place (61%) and transportation to a service (34%). The Care Bus stands as a beacon of resilience and care, strengthened by the collaboration with our local community partners. “The Care Bus serves as a lifeline, especially with the rising cost of living and heightened demand for social housing. Its operation is crucial in promptly connecting individuals with necessary support,” emphasized Lawson.

“The Métis Nation of Ontario Thunder Bay Youth Services Outreach Team is honoured to work alongside our valued partners on this initiative,” said Jacklyn Raynard, Supervisor of the Métis Nation of Ontario Thunder Bay Youth Outreach Team. “The Care Bus holds great significance for our local Métis citizens, serving as a vital resource for health and social support and exemplifying the strength of collaborative efforts in addressing some of the most pressing challenges faced by our community.”

For further inquiries about the Care Bus and its services, please contact Juanita Lawson at NorWest CHC at (807) 626-8482.

Contact for Media Inquires Kaitlin Trevisan, Communications Lead,
NorWest Community Health Centres
Phone: (807)-626-7875

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