Community Bus Bringing People Together

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The Community Bus brings people out to witness the MCC Grow Hope Project MCC Grow Hope Project

Since late 2013, the Niverville Community Bus has been cruising the highways around Niverville. The idea for the bus was originally birthed by the Maranatha Church in 2012, although the project subsequently took on a life of its own, quickly expanding in scope to benefit not just one church but the entire community. Other congregations joined forces with the local business community and civic-minded individuals to raise almost $100,000, enough to not only purchase the three-year-old bus, but also to cover the initial taxes and insurance.

Since that time, the bus has been pressed into service on average three or four times a month, and not just by churches. Growing Minds Child Care Centre, local sports teams, Imagine Mental Health, the MCC Grow Hope Project, the Niverville Multiplex fundraising committee, and the Golden Friendship Seniors Group have all taken advantage of the service. Youth groups from Word of Life, the Niverville Community Fellowship, and Maranatha have used it, not to mention Niverville Collegiate’s Safe Grad committee.

The bus has even been used by community groups outside of Niverville, such as the Ness Avenue Baptist Church, Youth for Christ Winnipeg, and the St. Pierre Youth for Christ. Students from Providence have boarded the bus weekly in order to commute to and from local church services.

The bus was never intended to be a commercial enterprise. Roger Armbruster, one of the project’s coordinators, says that people have been encouraged to see the bus as a missionary project. As such, users of the bus have made suggested donations just large enough to ensure the bus remains viable. This has equalled about $150 for one day of usage, covering up to 150 kilometres—in other words, enough to get to Winnipeg and back. For longer trips, the suggested donation is just $100 per day.

While the goal is to make sure the bus remains affordable to all who need it, those suggested donations are no longer enough to keep the project afloat.

“The vision is to see the Community Bus Project be self-sustaining for the long-term,” says Armbruster. “The present hope is not only to be able to cover current maintenance and insurance costs, but to be in a position to replace the bus whenever it becomes necessary at some point without having to engage in additional fundraisers in the future.”

That said, Armbruster points out that there is no plan to increase the suggested donation, as that would defeat the purpose of having the bus in the first place. Instead of more fundraisers, he says the project needs ongoing community support.

The Niverville Community Bus is a project of Maranatha Niverville, a registered charitable organization, and run as a not-for-profit. Donations can be charitably receipted or used as a tax write-off.

“It is our vision to see the Niverville Community Bus be a support in helping other community initiatives and enterprises succeed,” Armbruster says. “Together, we can make a difference in our community as we seek to keep the bus affordable for any enterprise that is contributing to the wellness of our town.”

For more information

Contact Wanda or Lucien Berard: (204) 388-6472, (204) 371-9750, or email lwberard@mymts.net 

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