Salvos help in the bag

Southern Gazette (Victoria Park) - - Opinion - D439962

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.

Pic­ture: David Baylis

Mhairi Flay and War­ren Palmer dis­play the bag of items that will be given to peo­ple in need.

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