Rotary looking for volunteers to help the homeless start up their new homes

Sean Car

The Rotary Club of North Melbourne has for quite a while now worked to help the homeless by providing support for established organisations that have a proven track record in this field.

We have been big supporters of both St Mary’s House of Welcome in Fitzroy and Ozanam House in North Melbourne. We have provided considerable financial support to both.

In the case of Ozanam House we probably have a closer relationship that also involves providing small gifts each month with activities for their residents to help keep them occupied.

We are now heavily involved in a new venture and are looking at assisting with another as well. The new venture is that we have been the first Rotary Club to actually sign up as founding member of RIMERN being the Rotary Inner Melbourne Emergency Relief Network.

There are now 14 Rotary Clubs signed up and our role is to collect and distribute household goods to people that have just been provided housing. The recipients are referred by various other organisations that assist people who have been homeless or possibly even victims of family violence. Some may have just come out of prison.

RIMERN does not find these people accommodation but when we are contacted, we can completely supply the whole house with all the goods required; beds, bedding, tables, chairs, crockery, cutlery, TVs, fridges, washing machines and more and it is all completely free.

We have a very large storage facility in East Brunswick where we operate from and though we have only been operating for around 100 days it is already completely full. Most of our goods come from deceased estates where the family must empty out the house after it is sold (sometimes before).

We have already made many deliveries to some very grateful recipients. One lady was given a delivery a few weeks ago and when one of our volunteers dropped in at the end of the day with a few more things she was amazed to see how she had put everything in place so stylishly making it almost look like a display home.

The pride she had in her new home made all the work worthwhile. But, of course, this all takes an enormous amount of work and so a large number of volunteers are required. The biggest job is going through all the goods after they arrive and sort them all out and put them in their right spot so when a delivery is required everything is organised.

At the moment, our club is doing a 45-minute shift every two weeks on a Saturday afternoon, and we would love to have more volunteers to both take the load off some of our stalwarts and also open the possibility of doing an additional fortnightly shift.

Please be assured that you do not need to be a Rotarian to volunteer so if you like to consider being a volunteer, please give our volunteer coordinator Judy Page a call on 0425 741 624 or email [email protected]

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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