IN excess of 1000 canned meals were donated to help feed Mildura’s homeless community through Mallee Accommodation and Support Program’s (MASP) canned food drive held during Homelessness Week last week.
MASP housing access and support worker Celeste Smith hailed the drive a “huge success”, estimating the meals including soups, spaghetti, baked beans, chili con carne and noodles would feed more than 500 people doing it tough across the Mallee.
“We were absolutely overwhelmed with the response from the community – it was more than we expected or could have hoped for,” Ms Smith said.
“We had shopping trolleys positioned in our offices throughout the week that members of the public could come and drop good into, as well as our Red Earth Heart Van at Mildura Central at the end of the week, which was hugely successful,” she said.
Ms Smith said having the van in a high-traffic and prominent position at Mildura Central was definitely a big help.
“So many people who went in to do their shop at the supermarket bought a can or two extra to donate on their way out. ABC Mildura Swan Hill radio also did live crosses during the morning, so a lot of people who heard that popped by to donate,” Ms Smith said.
“We had people from eight years old to 80 came by to give a little something, which was fantastic to see. Not only that, but we actually gained some new volunteers through the drive, so that was an absolutely unexpected and welcome bonus!”
MASP CEO Vincent Wilson praised the efforts of Mildura Senior College (MSC) students who got involved and helped raise funds, which they then used to purchase canned meals to donate.
“The students at MSC did an absolutely fantastic job, they really pitched in and helped raise money and provided meals. These young people are the future of our community, so to see them dedicate their time to help others less fortunate was really heart-warming,” Mr Wilson said.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the response and the outcome of the week as a whole, and it’s all thanks to the generosity of the Mildura community,” he said.
The canned goods will now be distributed to MASP case managed disadvantaged clients effective immediately.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness contact MASP on 5021 6500 or Haven; Home, Safe 1300 428 364.