August 2019 Newsletter
As our latest newsletter is going to print we are remembering Homelessness Week 2019 running from Sunday 4th August to Saturday 10th August.
Everyday over 9000 Western Australians are living with homelessness and some 3600 of these people are under 18 years of age. In Perth each night a little over 800 people are sleeping rough.
Across the metro area there are various events and activities taking place this week. Here at The Shopfront all our visitors on Wednesday received a bag with toiletries, food and some chocolate.
Australia needs to become more a community willing to address both the causes and the consequences of homelessness. We need the social, economic and political resolve to address this crisis. The challenge of homelessness can seem overwhelming. The 2018/2019 social justice statement by the Australian Bishops challenges us to ask “What more can I do? Am I welcoming and how and when do I offer a helping hand?” We are asked to reflect and pray for those of us with warm houses and comfortable beds that we not be lulled into complacency and forgetfulness.
On Friday 2nd August we had a morning tea before opening to farewell and wish all the best to a long serving and dedicated supporter of The Shopfront. Neville has been unwell for some years however continued to come into The Shopfront each week and very rarely missed.
Neville had been the President of the local Maylands Conference of Vinnies in Maylands for many years and with the closing of the local Conference he began coming to us as the Vinnies Representative twice a week. Eight years later he was a fixture! With declining health Neville had to finally come to a time when he could no longer be with us and be a true helpful soul to so many of our visitors.
It has been almost twelve months since Neville was last able to work in the office here and last week was the first time that he was well enough to come in to celebrate his significant presence here at The Shopfront. He and his wife Dot joined the regular Friday volunteers and a few past vollies to share cake and coffee.
We wish Neville and Dot all the best as they go with our heartfelt thanks.
Denise has been with us for 14 years and volunteers on a Thursday. She remembers starting in 2005, doing two days a week, Mondays and Thursdays. A friend of a friend mentioned that volunteers were needed and the rest as they say is history!
Along with volunteering at The Shopfront, she regularly visits residents at Emmaus in Queens Park who have now become firm friends. Denise is a social person and loves interacting with others. She says she enjoys the friendship amongst the staff and volunteers at The Shopfront and you “couldn’t meet better people”.
The visitors are also a big part of the reason why Denise volunteers with us and she has made many connections over the years, Sylvia, Raymond & Mark to name but a few.
Denise has a daughter in Yangebup and loves to visit with her and her nine month old grandson whenever she can. We enjoy having you in the Shopfront team Denise and thank you for the part you play!
Ray has been with us since mid-June and has already made a huge impact with our volunteers and visitors. His willingness to listen and interact with others has been a welcome addition to The Shopfront.
Ray is studying a Masters of Social Work at UWA and is in his first year of a two year course. He is passionate about making changes to policy that will benefit society, and through social work he hopes he can make a difference.
At this stage, Ray is thinking about working in the area of community housing & development with a holistic approach to social work.
Ray says The Shopfront has been a great opportunity and the best first placement he could hope for. His eyes have been opened and it’s been beneficial in so many ways. The volunteers have been very supportive and the visitors have taught him more than he learned at a school! It’s given him a valuable insight into how people live and cope with life.
Thanks Ray for embracing The Shopfront and making yourself part of the team!
Care of oneself is one of the more important things that need to be at the forefront of one’s mind when working with others. As a volunteer (or staff member) it is important that we take note of our thoughts, feelings, emotions and bodily aches and pains. Our well-being should be one of the first things we do. As we are told in the scriptures “love others as you love yourself”.
Here at The Shopfront our volunteers give so much for others. You offer sustenance, a listening ear, friendly smile and a truly genuine welcome to people who often can go for long periods without feeling as if someone truly cares for them.
From time to time you may see or hear something that stays with you or impacts on you in sometimes a subtle way and on other occasion’s hits like a sledge hammer. It is important that you can notice these affects and acknowledge them.
One of the roles I have as the Director of The Shopfront is to be available not just to our visitors but also to staff and the life blood of Shopfront – our volunteers. Nothing is too small or too onerous. If at any time you feel that a chat or something more formal is what you need please know that I am always available.
You may have noticed signs on the pantry and in the toiletries area that request all donations to be put in the donations box? The reason for this is so that we can assess all donations for their use by/best before dates and to ensure that we are using older stock first. It also means we can try and keep the back less cluttered. Please don’t put anything in the pantry directly as we have older stock out in the shed to clear first.
The shed out the back is also arranged in a way where we can use up older stock before the newer stock. There are numbered areas, with 1 being the first area to collect from (the oldest).
If you have any queries regarding this please feel free to ask Paula or Rosemary.
Thank you for your assistance with this.