Relief fund tar­gets hunger

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Angelique Pat­ter­son

THE Emer­gency Relief Fund has helped al­most 850 in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies in Moss­man from go­ing hun­gry in the past year, but now stocks are low and do­na­tions are needed.

Min­i­mum funds are re­ceived an­nu­ally from the gov­ern­ment and the Moss­man Com­mu­nity Cen­tre is con­cerned their dwin­dling re­sources will not make it un­til the next fund­ing round in Fe­bru­ary.

Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer Jill Bradley said they also pro­vide hot meals, which is not funded by the gov­ern­ment, as a vol­un­tary ac­tiv­ity funded by do­na­tions.

‘‘We served 1210 meals in one year and 362 meals in the last three months and helped 844 not just peo­ple but fam­i­lies with the Emer­gency Relief Fund,’’ she said.

‘‘ We have had some great com­mu­nity do­na­tions and food drives from St Au­gus­tine’s, Miallo, Wonga and Moss­man pri­mary schools and Lend Lease and we are very mind­ful of how we use the do­na­tions but we don’t want peo­ple to walk out of here with noth­ing.

‘‘We are call­ing on the com­mu­nity for as­sis­tance to help be­cause al­though the food drives have helped sus­tained the Fund, the need is al­ways go­ing to be there.’’

Ms Bradley said the fact is most peo­ple are only one or two pays away from find­ing them­selves in fi­nan­cial dif­fi­culty.

Com­mu­nity Coun­sel­lor Michelle Philp said the Fund has a cri­te­ria ev­ery­one meets, even peo­ple who are work­ing but find them­selves in a small cri­sis.

‘‘If some­one is sick and not get­ting paid and the bills come in which they pay but then have no money left for food, we can help,’’ she said.

‘‘Some­times there are un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances like a sick child and not enough money for med­i­ca­tion, we can help with scripts as well.

‘‘We also of­fer peo­ple lit­tle per­sonal packs which is some­thing that puts a smile on peo­ple’s face be­cause those prod­ucts are quite ex­pen­sive, such as sham­poo, soaps, tooth­paste and de­odor­ant.’’

Ms Philp said she has had in­ter­ac­tions 244 home­less peo­ple in the past year, a fig­ure that has been in­creas­ing over the last five years.

‘‘I am very con­cerned on how long our money will last,’’ she said.

‘‘We did an of­fice food drive the other week, some­thing peo­ple could do with their own work place. Cash do­na­tions are wel­come too, oth­er­wise we have a drop box in Woolworths for food.’’

Do­na­tions to the Emer­gency Relief Fund can in­clude any all non-per­ish­ables in­clud­ing rice, pasta, veg­eta­bles, tuna, ce­re­als, long-life milk, su­gar, canned fruit, canned beans, soups, sham­poo, con­di­tioner, soap, de­odor­ant, san­i­tary prod­ucts, nap­pies and more. To do­nate to the Emer­gency Relief Fund, you can put food in a drop-box at Woolworths in Moss­man, or con­tact the Moss­man Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on 4098 2005, or drop in at 20 Mill Street, Moss­man.

PLEASE GIVE: Jill Bradley (left) and Michelle Philp show ex­am­ples of food needed

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