More Shelterbags for the homeless

Shelterbags set for distribution by Coast Shelter

The Terrigal Rotary Club has raised more than $5,000 for its Shelterbags for the Homeless Project through a special film night at Avoca Beach Picture Theatre.

Spokesperson Mary Crammond said Community Director, Maggie Vincent, had organised the evening, featuring a showing of Elvis the Movie.

“Maggie attracted a crowd of 265 attendees and provided them with little boxes of supper food, the contents of which were donated by Coles Supermarket and our club members,” Crammond said.

“Maggie raised over $600 in raffle ticket sales plus $4,500 in ticket sales.

“All proceeds go to our Shelterbags for the Homeless Project – that is a Shelterbag for a further 64 homeless people.”

The project aims to provide people who are homeless with a Shelterbag – a light, durable, warm, waterproof, comfortable protective sleeping tent.

Shelterbags is a product of the not-for-profit organisation based out of Holland, the Sheltersuit Foundation, which was created by Dutch resident, Bas Timmers, after his friend’s father died of hypothermia on the streets of Holland in 2014.

Crammond, who was one of the co-founders of the Terrigal Rotary project, said she was introduced to Shelterbags for the first time when visiting Terrigal’s twin Rotary Club in Cape Town in 2019.

It was only when COVID 19 hit that they realised the extent of homelessness in Australia.

“After researching Australian homelessness for nine months, contacting outreach agencies to ascertain the need for protective sleepwear for the homeless and assessing the sustainability of such a program, the project effectively commenced in January 2021,” she said.

Homelessness continues to be an issue on the Central Coast as COVID-19, rising house prices, and a shortage of social housing force more people onto the streets.

“Since COVID, we have more women over 50 on the streets, more victims of domestic abuse, and unemployed youth,” Crammond said.

“We believe that every human being deserves a warm, dry and comfortable night’s sleep, preferably with a roof for shelter.

“Whilst not ideal, a Shelterbag at least will provide a warm, dry, and relatively comfortable (place), as well as a little dignity.”

Terrigal Rotary has now provided 1,850 Shelterbags for the homeless in NSW and Western Australia but Crammond said they need thousands more.

Tax deductible donations can be made at https://donations.RAWCs.

Terry Collins

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