Rotary, Salvoes bring rough sleepers in from the cold


Here you go: Margaret, left, is served by Rotarians Len Butcher and Derryck Rees and Salvation Army Lieutenant Laronie Thompson in the new Hastings Salvos kitchen. Pictures: Yanni

ROUGH sleepers in the Western Port region are being better cared for thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club of Hastings Westernport. Its members have funded a kitchen, shower and laundry with washing machine and dryer at the Salvation Army centre, Hastings.

Club secretary Heather Browning said the facilities cater to several needs. “We had the shower and laundry installed to provide a place for rough sleepers to wash and have clean clothes and contribute to a modicum of dignity,” she said.

“The kitchen provides for the Second Bite program and emergency food relief.”

Hastings MP Neale Burgess, Salvation Army Lieutenant Laronie Thompson and Hastings Rotary member Paddy Fincham.

Rotary moved on the project after discussions with mission centre officer Laronie Thompson. “They are in addition to the amazing youth programs she provides,” Ms Browning said. “She does an amazing job.”

The $15,000 facilities were opened on Friday 24 August.

“As far as we are aware, there are no other facilities for rough sleepers in the Hastings area,” Ms Browning said. “There is nowhere for them to go unless emergency housing can be arranged.

“There are no facilities at the Salvation Army centre and they presently sleep wherever they find a safe place around town.

“I believe the facility is well used already, with the kitchen providing around 150 meals each week. Anyone who wishes to use the shower is welcome to do so and toiletries are provided with no questions asked.”

Rotary members raised the money in several ways, including assisting with car parking at the Emu Plains market, Balnarring.  “If anyone sees us out there in all sorts of weather doing what we can to raise a few dollars, have a chat to us and help if you can,” Ms Browning said.

First published in the Western Port News – 28 August 2018


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