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Ambo Run

It's hard to imagine homelessness in Invercargill, but they're there. So are the Salvation Army, taking food and hot drinks to them and many others, on a Friday night. It's what Captains Ralph and Nicky Hargest call the ambulance ministry, and the Ambo is a welcome sight.

Four volunteers join Captain Ralph and Spectrum in the converted ambulance - a 1984 Bedford, donated by Christchurch Salvation Army. Wherever it stops people gather for a cuppa and chat.

Laden with buns and pies donated by a local bakery, the Ambo heads out to the skate park, town centre, boy-racer zone, nightclubs, a brothel and their own kids club, where the food disappears by the armload.

Captain Ralph takes a passive approach to changing what he says used to be a pretty rough Friday night culture. He's noticed less violence on the streets since they first started the ambulance ministry three years ago, a fact also noted by the police. Whether it's the presence of the Ambo that's made the difference he's not sure, but people are happy to see its open servery.

Ambo Run people