SOUTHFIELD, Mich., (Feb. 29, 2016) — The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit has officially unveiled its newest addition to the Bed & Bread program, Harrison, the Jr. Bed & Bread Truck. Harrison will serve as a philanthropic ambassador throughout the metro Detroit area and will have multiple roles in the community. The vehicle rolled out today at Mark Twain School for Scholars in Detroit.
In one role he will be used to educate children and families in need about support available through The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread program. Simultaneously, Harrison will visit schools and organizations to promote philanthropy, volunteerism and donations to the Bed & Bread program.
The animated character Harrison, which inspired the real life Harrison, was first created by Salvation Army supporter and Detroit radio legend, Dick Purtan and his daughter, comedian Jackie Purtan.
The real Harrison began his life as a Ford Transit Connect and was generously customized for the Jr. Bed & Bread program through support of the Ford Motor Company Fund. The van was donated by Pat Milliken Ford in Redford.
Harrison was built from a Ford Transit Connect cargo van – America’s best-selling small commercial van – and offers more than 103 cubic feet of cargo space. The van has a short wheelbase and 2.5-liter Duratec I-4 engine.
Technosports, an automotive customization service based in Livonia, led the process of bringing Harrison out of the storybooks and onto the road.
No detail was overlooked during the three month process of creating Harrison. There is now a serving window on the passenger side with internal walls of stainless steel and additional lighting, equipping Harrison for snack service.
A custom sound system was also added to the exterior of the vehicle with two speakers in the front grille. This will allow the driver of the vehicle or Harrison himself to say a few words (via a CD player inside the vehicle).
Cosmetic changes include custom molding of a new front end, fenders, modified headlights and additional side markers – along with a new coat of paint –s to accurately resemble the animated Harrison.
Marathon Petroleum Corporation is also lending support to the Jr. Bed & Bread program with a generous fuel donation to help keep Harrison on the road.
The original voice of Harrison, Big Al Muskavito emceed the introduction as students, staff, Bed & Bread sponsors and Salvation Army officers all gathered at Mark Twain School for Scholars to hear the story of their new friend Harrison.
The Jr. Bed & Bread program is a part of The Salvation Army Bed & Bread program which serves more than 1.5 million meals and 183,000 nights of shelter annually to metro Detroit men, women and children who would otherwise go without. The majority of those 1.5 million meals are served directly from the Bed & Bread trucks traveling within the city of Detroit.
Every week, staff and volunteers of The Salvation Army Bed & Bread program serve 10,000 pieces of fruit; 360 gallons of soup; 1,800 loaves of bread; 2,500 pounds of deli meat; 3,500 hot dogs and 10,000 snacks.
The Bed & Bread trucks travel a combined 47,450 miles, making 18,615 stops in Detroit every year. That is the equivalent of driving nearly twice around the globe from North to South Pole.
About The Salvation Army Bed & Bread Program
The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit’s Bed & Bread Program serves more than 4,200 meals each day to men, women and children who would otherwise go without. That’s more than 1.5 million meals every year. In addition, The Bed & Bread Program provides shelter to more than 500 homeless individuals each night, more than 183,000 nights of shelter annually.
The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit’s Bed & Bread Program is unique in that it serves many people via mobile soup kitchens. The Bed & Bread trucks are on the streets of Detroit 365 days a year making designated stops throughout the day.