There have been articles about the homeless during the last few weeks, and it is fantastic that a message is getting out about the needs of people in our communities.
Here are some hidden figures of what happens at the Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre Inc.
The Community Dinners are a community driven and community run program in which The Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre provides, from its commercial kitchen, community dinners on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5.00pm. Quality meals of at least two courses are served at tables with table cloths and cutlery. They are made from fresh ingredients delivered that day. OzHarvest Sunshine Coast supply rescued food from markets and supermarkets largely comprising of vegetables and some meat protein. The Centre also has some funds donated to boost these supplies if there is not enough food for that evening. The meals are cooked from scratch by two teams of volunteers, planning and preparing, cooking, plating up, washing up and putting away. Any left-over produce like bread or vegetables is also given away.
Showers are available at the Centre with HOT water and each person is given a care-pack which for men has toothbrush and paste, jocks, socks, soap, washing powder comb, and wash wipes; for women it contains all of this plus sanitary products and a nail file. These packs are donated by the community, churches, workplaces and the ex-homeless who understand how much these products mean to dignity, to cleanliness, which helps some get a job or a house and to their self-worth.
Power and gas is provided by the Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre, and some donations help with this but other donations are also very welcome. Gas costs $450 per year, electricity over $4,000.00 per year. Since July last year $75,000 of food, $121,000 of volunteer dollars per hours have been donated and in that time, 3,993 meals have been served, 125 showers and 673 washes of laundry have been given out.