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Community Urged To Join “Drive” To Ease The Burden Of Homelessness

Community support agency Mallee Accommodation and Support Program (MASP) is offering a practical and low-cost way for Mildura residents to do their bit to support vulnerable community members during Homelessness Week (August 1-7).

“People always say ‘what can I do?’ – well our Food Can Drive is something really practical, affordable and easy, and we will certainly be putting the stockpile of cans to good use throughout the year,” said MASP Team Leader of Housing Access, Community and Social Inclusion Lisa Davis.

Ms Davis said the donated cans of food will be distributed to a range of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, to help ease their financial burden.

“There are 700 people on the public housing wait list in the Sunraysia area, and we know that cost of living pressures along with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic are placing households under more financial stress than ever,” Ms Davis said.

“So, this offers people a really practical way to lend support to members of our own community who are doing it hard,” she said.

“It means when MASP is working with a community member who’s struggling to meet the costs of living, we can use the cans we have in store to provide some basics.

“With increasing pressures with the cost of living, increasing rents, electricity and food prices, people in our community are making decisions every day about what they can go without and unfortunately a lot of the time this is food.”

MASP Housing Access Support Worker Celeste Smith said the Food Can Drive will be held on Friday 5 August and was inspired by the popularity of last year’s MASP blanket drive.

“Food security is something we know many in our community struggle with, and while we have some great supporters like Woolworths and Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC) to help us with food support throughout the year, the rising cost of living means there is never enough to meet demand,” Ms Smith said.

“We’ve had some great organisations partner up with us for the event – we’re especially pleased to be partnering with Mr Kevin Maunder’s VCAL class at Mildura Senior College.

“The students have been working tirelessly making and selling recycled fire bricks to raise funds and collecting donations. The college students have pledged for each student to donate one can, which would then total over 800 cans.

“Importantly, also, Mildura Central has very generously offered their carpark space so it’s super-easy for anyone who wants to do their bit to donate on the day – we’d be grateful for each and every one.”

The Food Can Drive will be held on Friday 5 August at the Mildura Central carpark in front of Adairs from 10am to 5pm.

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