Mansfield food drive during National Refugee Week
DURING National Refugee Week, Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) Mansfield is organising a food drive.
Collection boxes will be placed in IGA and Foodworks and at the schools between June 17 and June 23.
RAR is asking for donations of tinned tomatoes, tinned tuna, basmati rice, chick peas, sweet and savoury biscuits, and dish washing detergent - all of which will be forwarded to the foodbank at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Footscray.
The national president of RAR, Marie Sellstrom, said that the Fed- eral Department of Home Affairs has changed the eligibility criteria for support which is currently accessed by approximately 13,000 asylum seekers most of who live in Sydney and Melbourne.
Ms Sellstrom explained that some 7500 of the latter look likely to lose their benefit of about $250 a week, meaning these people now face losing their homes and will struggle to make ends meet.
They will also lose access to torture and trauma counselling.
The affected people are asylum seekers who arrived in Australia in 2012-2013.
Ms Sellstrom said for approximately three years they were denied the right to work.
They were led to believe that their applications for protection would be resolved by June 2018, but now it is predicted that they will have no certainty about their future until 2020.
Most of them do not have the right to work, however, finding a job with only a temporary visa and limited English is not easy.
Many single asylum seekers have already lost these limited benefits, and if they cannot find work t hey are dependent on the help of refugee support or- ganisations and church groups to survive.
From June 4 this year a much larger cohort comprising families with children will be given four weeks to move off these benefits.
RAR acting president, Mary Dunn, said she hoped the food drive would play a part in assisting struggling families who are affected by the policy.
PLEASE HELP: Acting president of RAR, Mary Dunn of Merrijig, wants people to donate to Mansfield’s food drive during National Refugee Week.