This is not the blog I anticipated writing this spring. Who’d of thought we’d be hit by another wave of COVID-19. Now, it seems we have to learn to live with it. As a charity for the homeless and vulnerable that presents real challenges. Thankfully, your support enables us to meet those challenges and more.

Of course, keeping our vulnerable guests safe is paramount. So all our staff and volunteers have to wear masks indoors. Also, we are delivering fourth doses of vaccine into the arms of rough sleepers to minimise the chances of them getting seriously ill.

The pandemic caused a sharp rise in demand for our emergency food services. Now the escalating cost of living means we’re helping more people than ever before. In fact, we have six food vans delivering meals from 11 different locations across Sydney. That’s in addition to our three Loaves & Fishes Free Restaurants, two of which we recently opened in Campsie and Liverpool. We now serve over 10,000 meals every week.

Our healthcare van means the homeless stay well

But that’s not all. COVID-19 means more rough sleepers rely on us for healthcare. So now we also have a doctors clinic on wheels – a mobile healthcare van. I’m proud to tell you about it. The van is designed to provide rough sleepers with the same sort of general practice treatment they’d get from a family GP. It means we can ensure their ongoing care. That’s important because rough sleepers typically suffer multiple chronic health conditions.

In addition, we’ve refurbished and updated our dental clinic. Now our homeless and vulnerable guests can have their fillings fixed, or even get a set of much-needed dentures. This sort of basic dental treatment has an enormously positive effect on a person’s general health.

Thanks to the support of people like you we continue to grow and improve the help we give not only to rough sleepers, but others in need too.

Indeed, we’ve got a renewed focus on assisting young people and kids who are living in poverty. Our literacy program for school children is back up and running after COVID-19 put it on hold. Here we teach some of the most disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to escape lives of grinding poverty.

What’s more, we’ve recently begun offering help to children suffering psychological trauma. Often, these are the kids of single parents who’ve escaped violent home lives. Our program helps the children make sense of difficult experiences, feelings, and thoughts. The aim is to get them on the path to a better future. It’s important and groundbreaking work.

On-the-job training in our Crews Cafe

We are also making better futures for participants in our innovative job training program at the Crews Cafe. Located in Ashfield, the Crews Cafe offers on-the-job, TAFE certified hospitality training. In fact, successful graduates earn a Certificate II in Hospitality. We’re teaching them the skills they need for a fresh start.

We are doing more to make the future better for an ever increasing number of struggling Sydneysiders, in spite of the challenges of recent years. It’s something I’m enormously proud of.
But none of it could happen without your ongoing support. When you give, it enables me and my Foundation to feed the hungry, care for the sick and give hope to youngsters. That’s why I’m asking you to donate now. So please, give generously.

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About the Author: Bill Crews

Rev. Bill Crews AM is a much-loved Australian who's given over 3 million meals to the hungry and taught thousands of underprivileged kids to read. He's been recognised by The Rotary Foundation and Ernst & Young. He is on the National Trust’s list of 100 “National Living Treasures”.