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Vehicle, trailer used to feed street people stolen from Maple Ridge

88-year-old brings sandwiches, clothes, and more to the DTES
Ed Roy said his truck has sustained considerable damage after it had been stolen. (Neil Corbett/The News)

A Maple Ridge senior who takes food and clothing to people on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side (DTES) had his truck, camper, and the trailer he uses for the job stolen this week.

The truck and a utility trailer with the words “Jesus Loves You” written on the side have since been found, with damage. The camper is still missing.

Ed Roy is an 88-year-old who feeds the homeless every week through a church-based sandwich ministry. Those who work with him see the crime as particularly malicious.

“He is an unsung hero who devotes all his time to helping the most vulnerable and needy,” said volunteer Barbara Offerhaus. “We prepare thousands of sandwiches every month, and [bring] clothing, blankets and coats.”

She said numerous local businesses donate to Roy’s cause on a regular basis. There are people on the streets who rely on him.

The vehicle, camper, and trailer were stolen on Saturday night from his home on 203rd Street in Maple Ridge, and Roy is asking people to be on the lookout for the camper. They were loaded with food, clothing, and toiletries for the homeless.

The truck has been found in Mission, and the trailer was left in South Bonson. It is owned by Burnett Church, and the message was mostly scratched off, but is still visible.

“I’ve got what I need to keep going,” said Roy, although he is missing the camper and supplies inside.

Some are special items in the camper – requests. He had a pair of steel-toed boots for a DTES resident, who told him he needed work boots for a job, but couldn’t afford them.

There is a lot of damage to his 2003 Dodge diesel, including an ominous knocking in the front end, and there were weeds underneath that suggest some hard off-roading.

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Roy said the group has been supporting street people on the DTES for 29 years, and he joined them about 15 years ago.

He had retired from the Hammond Cedar Mill, just down the street from his house, then spent the next decade and a half as a snowbird, wintering in Arizona. That’s where he first found satisfaction in charity work.

He got involved locally as a volunteer sandwich maker with the Food and Clothing Ministry to the Needy. Once he saw their charity work up close up, on the streets of Vancouver, he had to help.

“People come to you in the middle of the rain, shivering and shaking in a T-shirt, and they’re soaking wet, and they’ve got no socks,” he said. “People should spend one day on Hastings Street, and they would see the need.”

Now he is the coordinator of the ministry, and works about four days a week. He picks up footwear at local shoe stores that leave boxes out for public donations, and makes the rounds to businesses like Cobs for day-old bread, and Starbucks for unsold sweets.

As his 90s loom, Roy’s only thought of quitting is “When I physically can’t do it anymore.”

“It’s something that needs to be done. People have to care.”

When his truck was stolen, the thought of giving it up flashed in his thoughts, “maybe for a few seconds.” Then he started to think about solutions.

He had praise for the Ridge Meadows RCMP, noting that after he reported his vehicle and trailer missing, it was only a matter of hours before they had located them. Officers even stayed with the trailer until he could retrieve it.

“The police did a fantastic job. Kudos to the RCMP,” he said.

If anyone has information regarding the missing camper, they are asked to call the Ridge Meadows RCMP at 604-463-6251.

Anyone with donations for the ministry can call Roy at 604-465-4339.

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The camper, seen here in action on the streets in Vancouver, is still missing. (Special to The News)

Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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