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Good Samaritan Provides a Helping Hand

The Williamstown Church of Christ has found a good samaritan to help its service providing food and friendship to those who need a helping hand.

Family electrical repair and seconds business Woolley Appliance Service in Deer Park has donated a freezer to the church’s Helping Hand Cafe.

The cafe provides meals to about 40 disadvantaged people who meet at the Church premises in Douglas Parade, Williamstown, every Tuesday.

The Church of Christ was a successful applicant to the Hobsons Bay Community Fund grants program last year, securing $3000 for the Helping Hand Cafe and the Helping Hand Learning Project. In addition to providing meals volunteers run an adult literacy program that has proved enormously popular amongst the lunch time guests.

Church of Christ board of management member Barbara Johnson said the Helping Hand Cafe provided a free meal and an opportunity to socialise for people who suffer isolation, disadvantage or a disability.

Ms Johnson said the church sourced much of its food for the cafe from the VicRelief Foodbank in Yarraville. “But increasingly, more and more food was being offered as frozen food and we needed more freezer space to store it”, the said.

“We needed another freezer at the best possible price. Our volunteers went off to Woolley Appliance Centre and to our surprise, the manager Bruce Kilpatrick, donated one for free once he heard what we are doing.

“That just meant we could use our grants funds to buy more food for our clients.”

Ms Johnson said the Helping Hand project at times struggled to make ends meet for cafe clients. She said it was working towards providing more nutritious food from its café service as a way of keeping people in good health as well as connected to the wider community.

There is strong demand for the Helping Hand Cafe, with up to 57 clients at once being fed by the service. But Ms Johnson said, “the biggest drawcard was the ability to offer these vulnerable people the opportunity to interact during the luncheon and develop their self confidence.

“The Helping Hand philosophy centres on encouraging and supporting people in doing things for themselves and in celebrating even small successes.”

Ms Johnson said the church was grateful for the help from the Hobsons Bay Community Fund and Woolley Appliance Services for their generous contributions to the Helping Hand programs.

Mr Kilpatrick said Woolleys was sympathetic to the endeavours of the church and was keen to lend its own helping hand.

“We always need to look after those that are less fortunate than ourselves”, he said. “This was just a small way Woolleys was able to help out.”

Hobsons Bay Community Fund chairman Hayden Raysmith said the fund hoped grants would enable programs to keep running even with relatively small amounts of money.

“We tend to support local community projects that provide practical help and which are unlikely to get funding from other sources.”

The Hobsons Bay Community Fund distributes about $10,000 in grants each year to local worthy causes.

“We are especially pleased that our grant to the Williamstown Church of Christ actually drew an in-kind donation of a freezer by Woolley Appliances”’ Mr Raysmith said.

“That only helps stretch the Church’s dollars a bit further in achieving its aim of providing food, building self confidence and giving people new literacy skills. These have far reaching long term benefits for the whole community.”

Mr Raysmith said applications for the next round of grants from the Hobsons Bay Community Fund would close on 31st July, with successful grant recipients being announced at the annual Charity dinner in the Williamstown Town Hall on 9th October.

Application forms are available from the Hobsons Bay City Council website, www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au

 

Australian Communities Foundation

Hobsons Bay Community Fund is a sub-fund of the Australian Communities Foundation. To visit the ACF website, click here.acf logo 2015

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