By Jamie Furness
The Community Life Uniting Church (formerly Forest Lake Uniting Church) in Ellen Grove has been blessing the community this winter by providing much-needed supplies to people doing it tough.
Community Life Uniting Church reverend Emma said members of the community escaping domestic violence situations or unable to afford food can connect with the church, who will help wherever they can.
“We take appointments for people in need to come and see our welfare officer on a Thursday,” Emma said.
“We’re able to provide some assistance and refer them to other organisations that can help them.”
All items placed in the donation box outside Woolworths at the Forest Lake shopping centre are sent to the church and distributed directly to people who need them.
“On a Tuesday morning we currently have a Community Pantry, which is between 8:30 am and 9:30 am,” Emma said.
“What we do there is give out hampers from our Community Pantry, which is a bag of groceries which come in from our two collection points.
Emma said non-perishable donations such as long-life milk, breakfast cereal, canned vegetables, canned fruit, tinned tomatoes, pasta, pasta sauce and other long-life items were always needed.
Items can be left in one of the Community Pantry Boxes outside Woolworths or the Jamboree Ward Office, or they can be brought to the church office on Waterford Road at 528 Waterford Road, Ellen Grove.
Earlier this year, nine-year old Mila spent $22 of her own saved money to fill a hamper of goods and bring it to the church one Tuesday morning, and she was able to witness her giving in action as the hamper was given to a gentleman in need.
“When I asked Mila why she did this, she said ‘because I wanted to help people,’” Emma said.
In addition to community donations, Emma said there is a large number of faithful church members who bring food to donate every week.
“We also try to give out toiletries, but it’s really the food assistance that people go for,” she said.
“We also have a bread ministry every day except Sunday, where a member of our church goes to Woolworths to pick up the excess baked goods. They are available to anyone in need.”
On the second and fourth Sunday of every month, the Community Life Uniting Church also runs a Community Barbeque at the church grounds from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm.
“We noticed a need for connection, particularly for people who didn’t have family around,” Emma said.
“Many of the families who come through seeking welfare are the ones who are coming to that barbeque – on average we’re probably getting 30-40 people coming.
“It involves some fun activities, a bit of story time, and a barbeque – it’s a really lovely time.”
For more information about the church’s welfare services and to find out more about how you can help, visit the Community Life Uniting Church Facebook page.