Where to find help for a stranger in need

Dubbo Photo News - - News - Com­ment by TIM PANKHURST MAN­AG­ING EDI­TOR feed­[email protected]­bopho­tonews.com.au

I was out for a walk a few days ago and was ap­proached by an older gent who asked for my help. He was polite and softly spo­ken, and ex­plained that he was from out of town and won­dered if I could give him a few dol­lars.

I was blocks from work or home, and had noth­ing on me, other than my keys. I ex­plained that I couldn’t help with money, but that I was sure there were some good places down town who prob­a­bly do of­fer some help for peo­ple in his sit­u­a­tion.

Think­ing I might not be­lieve his story, he rum­maged through the small pouch he was car­ry­ing and pro­duced some pa­per­work. I no­ticed a Cen­tre­link logo on one piece of pa­per, but as­sured him I didn’t need to see all that and so he popped it back into the pouch.

I shared this story with another lo­cal who, hes­i­tat­ingly, sug­gested you do have to be care­ful be­cause there are some peo­ple about who are just try­ing to ‘con’ some money.

But I wanted to be­lieve this bloke on the street, and wanted to steer him in the di­rec­tion of one of the lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions that could give him the help he needed.

But who? I rat­tled off a cou­ple of well­known com­mu­nity names, but wasn’t 100 per cent sure which would be best to help him.

Whilst it’s un­usual, it’s not the first time I’ve been in this sit­u­a­tion in Dubbo, and I’m guess­ing I’m not the only per­son who would like to help when some­one asks for a few dol­lars.

I made a few calls this week to find out which or­gan­i­sa­tions can help, so that you and me both will know what to sug­gest the next time we’re asked for money.

The Dubbo Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre (DNC) is an ex­cel­lent start­ing point for com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion, where you can ac­cess a very long list of lo­cal com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and how each can help in all sorts of sit­u­a­tions. That list is avail­able by call­ing the DNC on 6883 2300 or head­ing to their web­site www.dnc.org.au.

They were able to sug­gest to me sev­eral lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions that help in sit­u­a­tions like the one I’ve de­scribed above. One was Em­manuel Care Cen­tre at 177 Bris­bane Street op­po­site the RSL. I spoke to one of the staff there who con­firmed they can pro­vide emergency food re­lief along with EPA vouch­ers, a State Gov­ern­ment sys­tem that can help pay for things like elec­tric­ity in dire sit­u­a­tions, but there is an el­i­gi­bil­ity process that needs to be fol­lowed.

While no one or­gan­i­sa­tion in Dubbo that I’ve been made aware of of­fers 24/7 food re­lief, be­tween sev­eral lo­cal groups, in­clud­ing the Em­manuel Care Cen­tre, many of the hours each week are covered.

And don’t for­get there’s the Com­mu­nity Kitchen at Holy Trin­ity each Fri­day night. I know a few peo­ple who vol­un­teer there and I’m sure more volunteers would be wel­come.

So where does the food come from that places like the Em­manuel Care Cen­tre are able to pro­vide to peo­ple who can’t af­ford a meal? As you’ll read in one of our spe­cial fea­tures in to­day’s Dubbo Photo News, Vil­lage Bak­ery is one of the lo­cal busi­nesses that donates left-over but still good food to these causes. It’s a great ini­tia­tive which stops food wastage – a real win-win sit­u­a­tion.

As one per­son I spoke to about this said, un­for­tu­nately, there are some out there who try to make a liv­ing out of ask­ing for do­na­tions, but most peo­ple who ask are in need, some are des­per­ate for help.

We’ll fol­low this up with more in­for­ma­tion in the com­ing weeks here in Dubbo Photo News.

Mel wins a Trike Ad­ven­ture

CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS to Mel Dait who is the lucky win­ner of the Dubbo Photo News/trike Ad­ven­tures First Christ­mas Lights Tour Give­away. The com­pe­ti­tion, which has been run­ning over the past few weeks, asked the ques­tion, “What would Santa like for Christ­mas?”

Mel’s answer was: “Santa would like to see ev­ery child happy on Christ­mas Day.”

And so would we all!

How an elec­tion works

WE don’t give our­selves enough credit for the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem we en­joy in Aus­tralia. Colum­nist Greg Smart has writ­ten a very in­ter­est­ing piece this week, ad­dressed openly to the peo­ple of the USA, which ex­plains the dif­fer­ences be­tween our sys­tem of vot­ing and theirs. Greg is cor­rect – ours is much bet­ter, mak­ing for a bet­ter democ­racy. Make sure you read Greg’s col­umn be­cause it also gives an in­sight into what hap­pens when the Aussie polls close at 6pm each elec­tion day.

Another nice ad­di­tion

I GAVE a plug here a few weeks ago to some of the new works hap­pen­ing around town, par­tic­u­larly by Coun­cil staff. And Dubbo Photo News’ sports team of Ge­off Mann and Mel Pock­nall have been fol­low­ing the changes hap­pen­ing at Lady Cut­ler, and Vic­to­ria Park No.2 and No.3 Ovals.

One ad­di­tion we haven’t shown our read­ers yet is this semi-shaded out­door ‘lounge’ (pic­tured) which has been built on the Dubbo Bowl­ing Club side of No.2 Oval, near the WPCC. It adds a great lit­tle fea­ture to the area. Thumbs up.

PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS

Watch­ing cricket from “The Hill”: The works done this year at Vic­to­ria Park No.2 Oval in­clude this pair of out­door chairs, build on a slight rise over­look­ing the new picket fence.

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