Help­ing those with no home

Kind acts keep peo­ple on streets warm and fed

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Bev Jor­dan

WHILE most of us are tucked up at home Steve Cowie and his band of vol­un­teers brave the win­ter cold to dis­trib­ute blan­kets, warm clothes and kind­ness to those liv­ing on the streets.

Ev­ery Wed­nes­day night for the past seven years, they have set up their Clothes­line van near St Mary’s Cathe­dral to of­fer their ser­vices to the 150 mostly men, who line up for meals from Bill Crews’ Ex­o­dus Foun­da­tion.

“When I used to drive the food van home­less peo­ple would come up and ask if we had any warm cloth­ing be­cause they were freez­ing,” said Mr Cowie, a for­mer UK po­lice of­fi­cer.

“So when Bill Crews took over the van seven years ago I thought it was time to start op­er­at­ing a cloth­ing van.”

He and fel­low founder Ralph Feller started off sourc­ing sec­ond hand cloth­ing, but now man­u­fac­tur­ers give Clothes­line new cloth­ing or sec­onds to pass on.

Mr Cowie, a for­mer Sur­rey po­lice­man, mi­grated from the UK in the ’ 70s and has been an in­sur­ance in­ves­ti­ga­tor and fire in­ves­ti­ga­tor for Lloyds of Lon­don and worked with the Ju­ve­nile Jus­tice Depart­ment.

The 65-year-old old re­tired a few months ago but has been vol­un­teer­ing for more than 25 years.

“I have al­ways be­lieved in work­ing in the com­mu­nity,” Mr Cowie said.

“You get so much from do­ing some­thing for oth­ers.”

The Clothes­line team typ­i­fies the spirit of DoSome­thing Day, Aus­tralia’s big­gest ever cel­e­bra­tion of vol­un­teer­ing and ran­dom acts of kind­ness, be­ing pro­moted by NewsLo­cal news­pa­pers, the DoSome­thing char­ity and Your Lo­cal Club.

To be held on June 15, it aims to en­cour­age peo­ple to pitch in and do some­thing pos­i­tive in their com­mu­nity.

Vol­un­teers at Clothes­line come from all over Syd­ney.

Among them is Brian Wilkin­son, a re­tired au­di­tor from Con­cord.

When he was work­ing he used to do the cor­po­rate char­ity day and just wanted to do more.

“I love it and wouldn’t miss it for the world. It’s just a great night out, you re­ally feel you are help­ing.

“There are a lot of psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems and peo­ple down on their luck but they are in­ter­est­ing peo­ple.”

The peo­ple they help range in age from teens to their 70s.

“We used to have one man come down who was 94 and he use to visit us be­cause he was lonely,” Brian said.

Their clients say they ap­pre­ci­ate the ded­i­ca­tion and ser­vice of the Clothes­line team.

Ben­jamin, 40, says he likes the free­dom of the streets, but not the lack of se­cu­rity.

“I come here (to the food van and cloth­ing desk) for clean cloth­ing, a warm meal and the com­mu­nity,” he said.

Ben re­ceives aid from the Clothes­line char­ity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.