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    Can you imagine losing everything?

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    Andy* never imagined he would need our Meals Plus program. But his life was shattered when an unexpected redundancy left him jobless, homeless and severely depressed. He lost all hope for the future.

    Because of the kindness of people like you, Andy was able to find the support he needed at our Meals Plus service. A friendly welcome, a meal and a listening ear was the start of his journey to recovery. At our Christmas Lunch Andy finally felt he was not alone, and his life had value and meaning.

    Please, make a kind gift today to help people like Andy break the cycle of homelessness.

    ANDY’S STORY

    Andy first came to Parramatta Mission through our Meals Plus program. His story is a reminder to us all how quickly our situation in life can change.

    Only two years previously, Andy had a good job and a home he shared with his wife, Susan* and young daughter, Jess*. He remembers how he used to feel in the run up to Christmas: “Christmas was always such a special time, especially once Jess was old enough to understand what was going on. She’d get so excited opening her presents. We’d spend time with friends and my in-laws would come down to stay.” Although he wouldn’t have considered himself well off, Andy and Susan lived a comfortable life.

    But that comfort was shattered when, in late 2017, Andy was unexpectedly made redundant from his job. It hit him hard: “It was a huge shock. I threw myself into looking for a new position, but when that didn’t happen, I lost all my energy. I stopped talking to my wife or playing with my daughter. I just couldn’t face them. I felt I’d let them down. Looking back, I release that’s when my mental health issues really began.”

    Andy became severely depressed and the stress took a toll on his marriage. His wife Susan left, moving inter-state and taking their daughter with her. Unable to keep up the rental payments on the house, Andy moved into temporary accommodation. Due to his severe depression, he found it impossible to continue his job search. He picked up odd jobs here and there, but money became extremely tight. There were days, Andy faced the impossible choice between feeding himself or keeping a roof over his head.

    It’s for people like Andy that we must keep our Meals Plus program open 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

    Please, can you give a kind gift before Christmas to ensure we are there for the 176 men and women that come to us for a meal and support every day? Your kindness could change, or even save a life. You see, by the time someone comes to Meals Plus, they may have endured months or even years of hunger and homelessness.

    It’s is truly heart-breaking that anyone should feel their life has become worthless. But the statistics show us that Andy is far from alone. In fact, as many of 40% of the men and women who come to Meal Plus experience mental health issues. Dealing with hunger and homelessness can put an immense strain on your mental wellbeing. It can also make it more challenging to seek the support you need to break the cycle of homelessness.

    Last year, our Meals Plus provided 46,000 meals for people in need. But the program receives no government support and, I’m sad to say, demand is growing. Whilst offering a hot meal and drink may seem simple, it’s the start of something so much bigger. Thanks to the kind support of people like you, we can offer a safe and welcoming environment where vulnerable people make connections and share their experiences with others in their community. We also provide shower and laundry services, financial and legal advice and help finding permanent accommodation.

    Our Christmas Day lunch marked a turning point for Andy. It was there that he truly felt he wasn’t alone and that his life had meaning and worth: “The day turned out to be wonderful. It was a real celebration, and everyone was so accepting. There were so many people there with different stories and different backgrounds. It made me realise, with help I could get my life back on track.”

    Today, Andy’s future is brighter. With proper support he is treating his mental health issues. He has secured a new job and found a permanent place to live. He is also rebuilding his relationship with his family.

    Because of the kindness of people like you, Andy was able to find the support he needed at our Meals Plus service. A friendly welcome, a meal and a listening ear was the start of his journey to recovery. At our Christmas Lunch Andy finally felt he was not alone, and his life had value and meaning.

    Please give a kind gift today, to ensure we are there to welcome everyone that needs us.

    Your gift could truly change a life this Christmas.

    Blessings,

     

     

    Rev Keith Hamilton
    Senior Minister/CEO

    *Andy freely shared his story with us, but we have changed all names to protect his identity.

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