Street Angels is the name we have given to our various ways of outreach to the Homeless within the Shire of Yarra Ranges. For almost 2 years now, Neal Taylor has been seeking out those experiencing homelessness and those struggling and surviving in tough situations where he would check out their welfare and try to befriend them, letting them know that they are not alone and that others care.
Since that time the Street Angels program now includes a weekly BBQ that meets at Melba Park in Lilydale and seeks to not only feed, but befriend and help those who are homeless and others who are struggling. The BBQ attracts many on substance addiction and also those who are struggling financially, and even those sleeping rough. The Melba Park Outreach began February 2014 has been going for almost 5 months. Our largest day saw well over 30 folk attend, imcluding children.
The purpose of the BBQ Outreach is to encounter those in the community who may not come to a community meal such as Matt’s Cafe, but may hang around Melba Park or the area.
The location of Melba Park in Lilydale has been chosen, as many frequent the park during the day to either pass through or hang around after visiting Centrelink or the Parole offices and other welfare organisations.
The purposes of this BBQ outreach are;
- Through the medium of food, create relationships with those attending and be present for their needs and issues.
- Encounter those in the community who are not coming to Matt’s Cafe or other welfare services and ensure they are aware of services that are available.
- Provide a point of reference for social workers and services such as Centrelink or other agencies such as Eastcare or Anchor to meet with those in the community who may need their services.
Initiatively running for a 3 month trial, the Outreach has been considered a success due to;
- The numbers of people accessing the BBQ for contact and food increase.
- Relationships with people accessing the BBQ are meeting the purposes and changes are being made in their lives and/or situations.
- Agencies and Social Workers find that it is a successful point of contact for clients and other people needing assistance that may be difficult to meet elsewhere.
The BBQ outreach is being held in partnership with Mustard Tree Op-Shop.
Our outreach to the greater Shire will comntinue and we hope to increase the teams with volunteers who are trained to meet the needs and safety of those who may be sleeping rough.
Holy Fools seeks partnerships with Churches and organisations to help meet the needs of creating hope and healing community.