Salvos help in the bag
A YEAR ago, Mhairi Flay had an idea that she thought might help some of Perth’s homeless through winter.
Her concept: put together a bag of food and useful supplies to be given to people who, for one reason or another, had no option but to sleep without a roof over their head.
Working with the Salvation Army, Ms Flay embarked on the challenge to put together a bag of useful items for $50.
The target of the One Bag campaign was to pull in enough donations for 100 bags, but after just one month they were able to distribute more than 750 as part of The Salvation Army’s Winter Appeal.
This year they hope to lift that figure to 1000 and have included a sleeping bag among the other staple toiletries and non-perishable food items in a light, rucksack-style bag.
Salvation Army spokesman Warren Palmer said a $50 donation completely covered the cost of one bag and provided a small amount of money for the Salvos’ street outreach team.
“The concept is very simple and tangible; the more donations received, the more bags we can prepare ready for distribution to those in need,” he said.
Even with accommodation centres like The Beacon, which opened in Northbridge last year and provides crisis and transitional accommodation for up to 102 men each night, Mr Palmer said some people simply were left with no option but to sleep in cars or on the street.
“The Beacon is continually at maximum capacity and it’s a reality that half of the peo- ple who come here every night have to be turned away,” he said.
“This bag provides a sense of comfort in those instances.”
The Salvos’ street outreach team, which operates on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, and centres such as The Beacon will help distribute the bags in August.