Young people in the Southern Highlands are getting behing a food drive in the district for Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR).
RAR food drive coordinator Julia Weisz said there are thousands of refugees waiting for their applications to be processed and begin a new life, but a program which helps bridge that gap and provide basic income support of $35 per day has been “drastically cut.”
“To survive, an increasing number of people are turning to the Asylum Seekers Centre (ASC) in Newtown for assistance. As a result the ASC foodbank is desperately short of food and other basic necessities to meet the demand,” Ms Weisz said.
To help in this emergency, Southern Highlands RAR is swinging into action to help fill the ASC shelves.
The appeal for foodstuffs and toiletries starts on Monday, September 24 and runs until Friday, October 12.
Goods can be dropped off at several participating venues or at RAR tables be set up outside Woolworths Mittagong and Bowral Stores on Saturday, September 29 and Saturday, October 6 between 11am and 3pm.
Ms Weisz said the need is desperate, but she was encouraged to see young people stepping forward to lend a hand as Bowral High School and Oxley College are supporting the drive as well as some churches and other organisations.
Bowral High School student, Rosalie Gambrill said an experience working at the Asylum Seekers Centre, helping with visiting children and working in the ASC Foodbank, provided her with first-hand knowledge of how urgently the help is needed.
“My time there was very enlightening It opened up my eyes to the plight of asylum seekers living in our community and has spurred me on to speak to other young people about how they can help,” Rosalie said.
“I believe most young people have open minds but sometimes they are so busy with their own lives they don’t see what is right in front of them. I feel sure many will become connected by getting behind the food drive,” she said.
Other teenagers involved in the project are Amy, Luke and Claire McClay who took on the decanting and labelling of 40 jars of pure honey donated by their father Garth McClay from Southern Honey in Bowral.
Other businesses have also come forward to help, including a company which has provided a free storage unit to store and package goods for transportation to Sydney.
As well as helping with the food drive Southern Highlands Residents can find out more about the ASC on their website www.asylumseekerscentre.org.au on which direct donations can also be made. If donating direct please mark your contribution RAR FOOD DRIVE
DROP OFF POINTS FOR DONATIONS:
- RAR tables outside Woolworths Mittagong and Bowral: 11am to 3pm, September 29 & October 6.
- Bowral Uniting Church: 28 Bendooley Street, Bowral, weekdays 10am-3pm.
- Oxley College: 1/29 Railway Parade, Burradoo, main reception and student services, 10am-2.30pm.
- Mittagong Veterinary Hospital: 109 Main Street, weekdays 8:30am to 6pm and Saturdays 9am -12pm.
- Southlands Care Op Shop: Moss Vale Shopping Village, Willow Drive, weekdays 10am-3pm.