Support service for those in need

Central Coast Disaster Relief Founder Carly Pal

A unique support service is coming to the Peninsula with weekly food, health check-ups and haircuts provided for those in need.

Central Coast Disaster Relief (CCDR) and Woy Woy CWA are starting the service in-kind program in late February, located on the grounds of the CWA hall.

CCDR founder Carly Pal said they had received feedback that COVID-19 had significantly impacted the Peninsula and that there were not enough support services in the area.

“We have received such great support to get a service up and running in the Peninsula area— but we are still seeking food businesses that are local, to join a rotating roster of food providers for the new service,” Pal said.

“We are trying to ease the financial burden that so many families and individuals are facing, and with Job Seeker and Job Keeper being phased out totally by the end of March, we think that this need will only continue to grow.”

Throughout 2020, CCDR assisted other services on the Coast, but demand for refuge and relief services continued to grow.

CCDR decided to start its own support service within the community, appropriately named Care4Coast, with an event hosted every Monday night in Kibble Park, Gosford.

“We have hairdressers on board and nurses that come down and provide non-invasive health checks; food is provided, as well as food hampers, snack packs, toiletry packs and pet food,” Pal said.

“At our last service, 43 people turned up, which is more than double the numbers we were supporting last year, which was around 17 people.”

Woy Woy CWA president, Jane Bowtell, said the Peninsula service would provide similar assistance and be a permanent Thursday evening event.

“There will be food hampers, snack packs, clothing, a hairdresser, dinner on the night, and hopefully some other health services down the track,” Bowtell said.

“We will have three CWA volunteers, and CCDR will have theirs—all COVID Safe and with the necessary QR codes.

“This is open to those sleeping rough or in community housing or people just wanting a meal, a chat, a friendly face.”

Pal said the services were for anybody in need, not just exclusively for the homeless, but for families going through a financial crisis, domestic violence, or for those who just needed a chat.

“It’s for everybody, not just those who may be sleeping on the streets or doing it rough; it’s for families, children, the elderly community, and pensioners,” she said.

“This service on the Peninsula will be aimed at everybody and anybody who needs help.”

Along with the much-needed Peninsula food providers, Pal said they struggled to find appropriate storage.

They are looking for any businesses in the community that could offer a discount on storage.

“(We need) something we can regularly access, not just to store things but so we can make up snack packs and hampers,” Pal said.

Community members wishing to donate or volunteer their services can reach out via the CCDR email or through the Facebook page.

Hayley McMahon