BIDDEFORD — Peter Kelleher knew the bad news about his son, Travis, was coming, despite all the times he had reached out to help, tried to steer him in the right direction.

Travis Kelleher was homeless when he died in 2016. Photo courtesy of Peter Kelleher

“I got that call I knew I was going to get. I was still heartbroken,” said Kelleher, standing outside the Biddeford Police Department on Monday in front of a former school bus – Travis’ Bus – that he now uses to distribute supplies to the homeless.

Kelleher received “that call” on Sept. 2, 2016. His 33-year-old son had died of an opioid overdose in Bangor.

Maine and much of the nation is in the grip of an opioid crisis, with 418 drug overdose deaths in 2017 and a projected 376 deaths in 2018.

Peter Kelleher, also known as “The Soupman,” is on a weeklong tour of Maine to help the homeless, including stops in Biddeford, Portland, Newport, Augusta and Bangor. The bus is packed with more than 1,500 backpacks that contain winter clothes and toiletries for the homeless. Travis was homeless when he died, Kelleher said.

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