Supporting hope

A message from: 

Councillor Paula Fletcher - Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth
Councillor Howard Moscoe - Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence
Councillor Joe Mihevc - Ward 21, St. Paul's West
Councillor Adam Vaughan - Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina

As members of Toronto’s City Council, we are encouraging you to participate in the 2010-2014 “Caravan of Hope” project to provide retired Toronto ambulances second life while helping to bring public sector health care to the people of El Salvador.

Toronto City Council has consistently supported this project, and we have been involved with the Caravan of Hope since its humble beginnings in 2001, bringing school buses and supplies to those affected by the devastating earthquake in El Salvador. The City of Toronto has donated five retired ambulances to the Caravan over the past three years.  Further, through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Toronto has had a longstanding partnership with the City of Soyapango, El Salvador, since 1996, providing technical expertise in the area of Information Technology.

The Caravan of Hope will be taking ambulances that Toronto can no longer use but which still have immense utility and gives them an opportunity to continue to serve in El Salvador.  Once in El Salvador, these vehicles will be staffed by doctors and nurses and provide high-quality primary care to communities across the country.

As a City, Toronto is doing its part in this project, continuing to provide donations of vehicles and other resources.  The San Lorenzo community is doing its part by liaising with the Salvadoran government, recruiting volunteers, raising money and driving the vehicles across 5 countries to their new duties in El Salvador. The Caravan of Hope needs your support to help make this project possible.    

A message from Fr. Hernan Astudillo, founder of the Caravan of Hope:

I would like to invite you to participate in the Caravan of Hope, an humanitarian project that delivers Toronto's retired ambulances to underserved communities in El Salvador.  By giving new life to Toronto's decommissioned ambulances, volunteers and donors for the Caravan of Hope can contribute directly to the life-sustaining work of rebuilding and improving El Salvador's healthcare infrastructure.      

I founded the Caravan of Hope as pastor of Toronto’s San Lorenzo Church after the devastating earthquakes that shook El Salvador in 2001, but in fact this initiative forms part of a larger collaborative relationship between Toronto and El Salvador.   Since 1996, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Cities of Toronto and Soyapango, El Salvador, have partnered to provide IT infrastructure development and training to Soyapango,  making it a regional leader in the field. At the request of El Salvador’s new government, the City of Toronto and the San Lorenzo Church are now working towards establishing community health clinics in each of the country's 14 provinces.  Over the next four years, the Caravan of Hope will help bring this dream to fruition by raising funds to send 14 ambulances per year to El Salvador.  The project has already succeeded in delivering 31 school buses, 12 shipping containers of supplies, and five retired Toronto ambulances to communities where they are most needed.


The Province of Ontario requires that ambulances be retired after just four and a half years in service.  This means that each year, the City of Toronto decommissions and auctions 28 ambulances that can potentially serve communities in El Salvador for many years to come.  The cost of purchasing, insuring, and fueling each ambulance for the 13 day journey to El Salvador amounts to nearly $15,000. We are requesting your commitment to provide funding for one ambulance per year for the next four years.  In exchange for your sponsorship, your corporate logo or message will be displayed on the ambulance each year, your organization will be featured in publicity and fundraising materials, and the company will have the opportunity to speak to the press and public at the send-off events for the ambulances en route to El Salvador.

Over the years, the Caravan of Hope has become more than just a cavalcade of decommissioned school buses and ambulances travelling to Central America. It has blossomed into a caravan of love and compassion, which has inspired and mobilized people in Toronto's Latino communities and in El Salvador. In collaboration with Radio Voces Latinas (San Lorenzo Church’s community radio station) and many volunteers within and beyond the Latino community in Toronto, the Caravan of Hope has raised money to support thousands in need in Toronto, Latin America and Asia.  

I sincerely hope that your organization will consider supporting the Caravan and its message of hope and peace.  We will be contacting you in the near future to discuss your sponsorship in more detail.  Should you have any questions, kindly contact Michelle Maron of the Caravan of Hope at 416-782-2953 x226 or by email at mmaron@sanlorenzo.ca.


Sincerely yours

Father Hernan Astudillo
San Lorenzo Church and Community Centre


The Caravan of Hope - March 2009