St Mary’s House of Welcome adjusts to COVID-normal

As we move deeper into Winter and Victoria tries to adjust to a ‘more normal’ COVID-safe existence, St Mary’s House of Welcome (SMHOW) in Fitzroy is taking a stepwise approach to easing back to its mission work as an engagement hub.  

SMHOW is continuing its ‘Welcome Relief’ take away meal packs to its homeless community living in temporary accommodation until 30 June 2021, as well as providing the take away meal packs for its service users onsite.  It has also started a ‘Welcome Start’ Winter Breakfast Club for its rough-sleeping community so that people sleeping rough on the streets can come in and have a full, two-course hot breakfast, tea/coffee, shower, clean clothes as well as case management, support and referrals from its Community Support Workers.  

SMHOW is currently providing onsite breakfast for 15-20 rough sleepers each weekday. Those who use the breakfast club also receive a takeaway meal pack for nourishment for the rest of the day.  

CEO of SMHOW, Robina Bradley, says, ‘We hope this will be the first step to improve and increase our services as the situation allows. We will continue to offer a take-away meal pack to all other service users who we are unable to accommodate onsite due to restrictions.’

Sharing St Mary’s 60-year anniversary celebrations

In other news, SMHOW’s 60th Anniversary celebrations were finally able to take place last month after having been postponed last year due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

‘We proudly celebrated our 60 years of mission and service to people in need by hosting a simple afternoon tea and time of prayer and reflection for some of the people who have shared our journey,’ said Ms Bradley.

‘It was a lovely day to reflect on our achievements, and celebrate our founders – the Daughters of Charity – and everyone who has supported us in our work in providing essential services for people sleeping rough, experiencing homelessness and disadvantage.’ 

The afternoon was attended by Sr Debra McCarthy DC our Trustee/Board member, Sr Margaret (DC Fitzroy), service users, volunteers, supporters and politicians. 

‘We look forward to many more years of supporting our vulnerable community members,’ said Ms Bradley. 

A video, created to mark the Anniversary, was shown at the afternoon tea.

And in other news, last month SMHOW welcomed MasterChef contestants, Linda and Aaron, into its kitchen and dining room as they helped prepare and serve a delicious lunch to service users. The visit, resulting from SMHOW’s partnership with Second Bite, was filmed and parts will be airing on MasterChef later this month.

Call for Board Nominations

SMHOW is calling for nominations for a number of vacant positions on its Board of Directors. Board Directors support the work of SMHOW and provide mission-based leadership and strategic governance. The Board/CEO relationship is a partnership and the appropriate involvement of the Board is both critical and expected. 

St Mary’s Fundraising Trivia Night

And don’t forget that St Mary’s House of Welcome is hosting a ‘Lounge Trivia’, an online trivia night at home, to help those without a home on Friday 4 June, from 7.30pm to 9.00pm.

Tickets cost $120, which includes a dinner and drinks hamper for two delivered to your door, as well as access to some of the best online trivia going around.

Get a team together (2 – 10 people) and settle in for what is virtually guaranteed to be the best fun you have had in ages!

Funds raised support of St Mary’s ‘Welcome Start’ Winter Breakfast Program.  Get your tickets fast. Hampers are limited! (Victoria only)  

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