The Elgin Street Mission has some new wheels thanks to the generosity of the Lougheed Foundation and Crosstown Chevrolet. The two groups worked together after determining the mission's previous vehicle was on its last legs and they were in desperate need of a replacement. (Ian Campbell/CTV News)

The Elgin Street Mission has some new wheels thanks to the generosity of the Lougheed Foundation and Crosstown Chevrolet.

On Wednesday morning, Vince Pollesel, the dealer principal at Crosstown, handed the keys to Pastor Amanda Robichaud, the mission's new executive director.

"This is an amazing gift from the Lougheed Foundation and Crosstown, of course, which helps us serve Sudbury's most vulnerable," said Robichaud.

The new cargo van was made possible thanks to a $25,000 donation from the foundation, while Crosstown was able to provide what's being described as a "healthy discount" and warranties on the vehicle.

"I think God is good because it's so funny because with the generosity of Crosstown and with the Lougheed Foundation, then Mr. Newbury put the old van online to sell and actually at the end of the day, the mission is $2,000 ahead," said Gerry Lougheed Jr.

Feeding record numbers

It couldn't come at a better time for the organization, which has been feeding record numbers over the past week since the start of the cooler weather.

"I know the last few nights at the mission, we exceeded our numbers -- record numbers at the mission -- so the need is there and it's very much being felt in our downtown community," explained Robichaud.

The new pastor says they'll be able to transport more food with the new vehicle and deal with the greater influx of numbers they're seeing and feeding.

"Our volunteers are fantastic, they know the faces and there is a ton of new faces that they're seeing come through the door," said Robichaud. "And so we want to be able to serve them in the very best way we're able to, what that looks like with all of the restrictions, we're not sure yet but we definitely want to meet the need."

Pollesel said the Mission was incredibly important to his mother and felt compelled to get involved.

"It's always been near and dear to our hearts and when Gerry called us up, it just seemed like the right thing to do," said Pollesel. "They want something larger because their deliveries are getting a little heavier, so we went on a search and found them this and I think it's going to do the trick."

Anyone who would like to help the Elgin Street Mission as it deals with this influx of numbers, they are always looking for volunteers even though their volunteer positions are limited at the moment due to COVID. They're also accepting donations, both financial and otherwise.