By the Rev’d Barbara Paull-Hunt
S.A. Aquatic Leisure Centre Marion, became a ‘haven’ on Friday 18 August 6pm to Saturday 19 August at 8.30am 2023, for the homeless of our community. Thanks to them for the offer of their premises, the use of their hot showers and facilities for our guests .
Many from within and around our community came together by offering services for the homeless.
Principals, teachers, parents of the Paringa Park Primary School offered their time to set up beds and work with the Edwardstown Rotary to provide an evening meal for our guests and those who came to help.
Pop up Health offered the assistance of a doctor who was able to help one of our guests in need. Free vaccinations were offered for COVID-19 and Flu shots. The SA Dental offered dental packs for our guests.
There were about nine tables of new clothing from warm jackets to jumpers and shirts, T Shirts, skivvies, socks, beanies, scarves and other personal items and some shoes. Thread together brought in racks of clothing for men and women. There were some clothing for children. A few mothers and their children came for some food and clothing and a chat.
During the evening, ‘Hair Do Run’ offered haircuts and trimmed a couple of beards.
Westfield shopping centre offered many health packs as well for the journey. Mobile coffee service, served coffee till late in the evening for all.
Many people from St. Elizabeth’s and St. Philip’s Churches offered their time to be there for conversation or a listening ear. The two churches made Hygiene packs for our guests to take away with them the next morning. Other people that offered their time during the course of the night were from Somerton Surf Life Saving Club.
During the early hours of the morning some people came to have some food as they were hungry both at different times of the early morning. The lady we helped came back with another lady who had been followed by someone and needed to be in with us for awhile for safety, before she could go home. This woman was afraid and hungry. She stayed for a while and had some food and conversation, before leaving with the lady that brought her to us.
Some of our guests travelled some distance to come to the Pop up Shelter that evening. Port Adelaide, & Noarlunga along with some of the locals that came for some food and clothing not to stay. We have three that stayed overnight and they felt clean, warm, had something to eat and care from the people that offered this hospitality.
One couple said it felt like ‘Christmas’ as to what they had received, and when it is offered again they will bring others with them to the shelter. Another gentleman said he felt ‘loved’, good conversation and singing, maybe Heaven, he said, not sure, but maybe heaven.
There were over 60 beds, 20 of which came from Adventure Connect. Those that stayed there over night slept warm, safe and in comfort in the Leisure Centre. The Orange Sky mobile Laundry were kept busy the next morning. Our guests left with clean and some new clothing. Holdfast Bay Rotary Club came and offered a hot breakfast before our guests left for another night on the road.
Thank you to the Communities of Marion, Brighton, Somerton Park, Edwardstown and Holdfast Bay for coming together for our homeless.
This was only the beginning, plans are being made for next June, July and August 2024.
Matthew 25: 35+ ‘I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was naked and you clothed me, I was a stranger and you invited me in etc…..’