Help­ing hand in tough times

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY RACHEAL WILLETT

It can be a sim­ple as a do­nat­ing a tube of tooth­paste or some sham­poo and con­di­tioner but it could make a world of dif­fer­ence to some­one who needs a hand.

Re­gional Vic­to­ria has been hit in re­cent months with job losses and job un­cer­tainty, leav­ing many north-east families in need of as­sis­tance.

Work­ers were stood down in­def­i­nitely at the JBS Aus­tralia plant in Co­bram last month and fur­ther afield Mur­ray Goul­burn an­nounced the clo­sure of fac­to­ries in Rochester and Kiewa.

The dif­fi­cul­ties as­so­ci­ated with em­ploy­ment un­cer­tainty have spread through­out the re­gion and led to a call for help to MHA Care.

“We had been con­tacted by sev­eral agen­cies seek­ing sup­port from our Food­share pro­gram to pro­vide as­sis­tance for families who need sup­port,” said MHA Care Ex­ec­u­tive Sup­port Of­fi­cer Ni­cole Pot­ter.

“We were happy to help but we also had re­quests not for just food items, which we pro­vide through Food­share, but also per­sonal items such as toi­letries.

“That isn’t some­thing we could of­fer so we de­cided to start our own col­lec­tion drive to see if we could gather up dona­tions to pro­vide sup­port.”

The per­sonal items drive started within the MHA Care staff and has now been ex­tended to the wider com­mu­nity in an ef­fort to pro­vide more sub­stan­tial help.

“Job loss is dif­fi­cult for any fam­ily to bear and in the case of JBS Swift our un­der­stand­ing is that be­cause the work­ers have been stood down they are tech­ni­cally still em­ployed even though they are not work­ing,” Ms Pot­ter said.

“That means they might not be able to ac­cess other forms of as­sis­tance and no doubt it is get­ting pretty hard for them.”

Ex­pen­sive shop­ping bud­get items such as tooth­paste and tooth­brushes, sham­poo and con­di­tioner, de­odor­ant, tis­sues and ra­zors are among the items sought.

Peo­ple are be­ing en­cour­aged to con­sider do­nat­ing their ‘spare’ sup­ply - per­haps the full box of tis­sues be­ing stored in the cup­board or the un­opened tube of tooth­paste in the bath­room van­ity.

“Ev­ery lit­tle bit helps and a small do­na­tion can make a big dif­fer­ence,” Ms Pot­ter said.

“Our hope is that we can col­lect as many items as pos­si­ble and dis­trib­ute them through the net­work of agen­cies that are pro­vid­ing sup­port to families in the area.”

Ms Pot­ter also said any­one who vis­ited Food­share in Yar­ra­wonga and Co­bram would be able to ac­cess goods just by show­ing their JBS Aus­tralia em­ployee card with­out the need for any fur­ther screen­ing process.

Any­one who would like to do­nate goods to the per­sonal items col­lec­tion is in­vited to drop them in at the MHA Care of­fice in Orr Street, Yar­ra­wonga.

Ni­cole Pot­ter and Chloe Shell from MHA Care are en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to do­nate per­sonal items to help families af­fected by em­ploy­ment un­cer­tainty in the re­gion.

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