Almost all of us have been in a situation at some time where we have needed to ask for help.
Take yourself back to that moment, remember how hard it may have been to speak those first words, to reach out and wait for the reply, to accept the help of someone else. Sometimes we resist, for fear of rejection, of questions and of judgement.
Imagine not even knowing where to go or who to ask for that help.
Every day at Meals Plus we open our doors and welcome all without question or judgement. For some it takes many visits to gain the courage and trust to ask for even the smallest things. But we are here and when they are ready, we listen, and help find hope for those who are facing crisis or need a helping hand. Even something small like a meal and a conversation can make a big difference and start a journey towards better things.
We offer to our visitors Grace, Dignity, Inclusion, Faith and Hope, and receive great joy in witnessing what it can bring to people. Your donation to Parramatta Mission today will ensure that we can continue to give hope to the most vulnerable and marginalised in our community.
The combination of pandemic, natural disasters, and the increased cost of living has left many individuals and families facing a dramatic increase in the financial stresses of day-to-day life. Many of those who seek assistance at Meals Plus are on a fixed income and now live below the poverty line, struggling to pay rent and bills or to put food on the table.
Every person who walks through our doors has a different story, but all are asking for our help in some way. For some it is a single visit to alleviate stresses they face and for others it is a longer journey.
Alyssa’s husband left her and her two daughters recently. Earlier this month she lost her job and only source of income. She came to Meals Plus with the hope of getting some food to help feed her family so they she could continue to pay the rent until she can find work again. We were able to supply essential food items, fresh fruit and vegetables for the week and as it was her daughter’s birthday she also left with gifts and extra food to help them be able to celebrate. The smile on her face and gratitude she expressed was overwhelming. She intends to return soon so that we can continue to assist her until she is back on her feet.
Brothers Dave and Steve come to Meals Plus for lunch each day. It has become a routine for them and a method of coping. They live in social housing and are on a fixed income. The rising cost of living has put extra burden on their budget. Visiting Meals Plus not only gives them a good lunch each day, it saves them money and forms part of their routine, giving them the opportunity to socialise, reducing isolation and improving their day to day mental health.
Beth, a student from Western Sydney university was bought in by staff, she had been sleeping in the university study pods as she had become homeless and lost her Centrelink payments. After a long discussion she was assisted in finding crisis housing in a single women’s accommodation nearby that same day. We have since helped her to have her payments reinstated. She can now attend university again and has a safe place to stay as she rebuilds her life.
These are but a few of the many stories that we experience every day in Meals Plus. People who have had the courage to take the first steps in asking for help and are now finding hope and support to live life with a little less stress and anxiety each day.
Parramatta Mission, through the Meals Plus service, act as advocate, counsellor, referral and offers a safe place where we can unravel complex issues and start to plan ways to ease the stress faced by those who come to us every day for assistance.
We need your help so that we can keep the doors open and assist more people like Alyssa, Dave, Steve and Beth – who have the courage to take the first steps to ask for help.
As you may know, Parramatta Mission has undergone a huge transition of its services over the past 12 months. As we have transitioned all our government funded services, we are now an entirely self-funded organisation focusing on assisting our local community. Our vision for the future of Meals Plus is to continue to build a safe community space where all are welcome, working closely with local organisations and welfare agencies to enable vital service delivery to the most vulnerable in our community. These may be people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or facing crisis – whether that be financial, legal, isolation or mental health struggles.
Staff at Meals Plus work with individuals and families to develop a response plan that is appropriate for them and provide access and referrals to the necessary agencies and programs, many of which are available onsite through appointments. Meals Plus makes it easier for people to navigate a complex system, provides them a “warm” referral to services and minimizes the need to travel to multiple sites and retell their story which may often be difficult and a barrier to seeking assistance. Extended support often carries over several months to walk with people as they recover and make positive steps in their life.
The need for our service continues to increase as we are experience higher costs of living, higher rent costs with less available affordable housing, and unemployment as a result of many small businesses struggling or closing down.
Meals Plus receives no government funding. It is through the kindness and generosity of people like you that we can keep our doors open and to extend and grow the service to positively impact the lives of those who need our help.
Meals Plus offers a safe and welcoming place for people like Alyssa, Dave, Steve and Beth to find real solutions and hope for the future.
We know how difficult it is to ask for help and so we are looking to practice what we preach, which is why we are courageously asking for your help to assist us in keeping the doors to Meals Plus open.
Please send a tax-deductible gift today knowing that your generosity will give hope to those who take the courageous step to ask for help, so that we can help them remain hopeful in their journey to a safe and stable life.
Thank you for being part of a Community Transforming Lives.
Yours in Grace, Dignity, Inclusion, Faith and Hope
Executive General Manager
PS – Please remember that all gifts over $2 are tax deductible this financial year if we receive your donation prior to June 30.
“80% of people on the lowest income support payment were excluded from the COVID Disaster Payment, introduced in September 2021. Subsequently the number of people in poverty rose by around 20% and a bias in jobs growth towards high paid jobs and a rapid rise in investment incomes lifted income inequality. A few weeks after lockdowns ended, those still out of paid work lost their COVID Disaster Payment and joined the l.7 million people already struggling to get by on the $45 a day unemployment Jobseeker payment. Financial stress came roaring back as did increased reliance on emergency relief.”*
*Article COVID, Inequality & Poverty in 2020 & 2021 (communityconnective.com.au)