Helping hand in tough times

May 17, 2017

Nicole Potter and Chloe Shell from MHA Care are encouraging people to donate personal items to help families affected by employment uncertainty in the region.

It can be a simple as a donating a tube of toothpaste or some shampoo and conditioner but it could make a world of difference to someone who needs a hand.

Regional Victoria has been hit in recent months with job losses and job uncertainty, leaving many north-east families in need of assistance.

Workers were stood down indefinitely at the JBS Australia plant in Cobram last month and further afield Murray Goulburn announced the closure of factories in Rochester and Kiewa.

The difficulties associated with employment uncertainty have spread throughout the region and led to a call for help to MHA Care.

“We had been contacted by several agencies seeking support from our Foodshare program to provide assistance for families who need support,” said MHA Care Executive Support Officer Nicole Potter.

“We were happy to help but we also had requests not for just food items, which we provide through Foodshare, but also personal items such as toiletries.

“That isn’t something we could offer so we decided to start our own collection drive to see if we could gather up donations to provide support.”

The personal items drive started within the MHA Care staff and has now been extended to the wider community in an effort to provide more substantial help.

“Job loss is difficult for any family to bear and in the case of JBS Swift our understanding is that because the workers have been stood down they are technically still employed even though they are not working,” Ms Potter said.

“That means they might not be able to access other forms of assistance and no doubt it is getting pretty hard for them.”

Expensive shopping budget items such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, tissues and razors are among the items sought.

People are being encouraged to consider donating their ‘spare’ supply - perhaps the full box of tissues being stored in the cupboard or the unopened tube of toothpaste in the bathroom vanity.

“Every little bit helps and a small donation can make a big difference,” Ms Potter said.

“Our hope is that we can collect as many items as possible and distribute them through the network of agencies that are providing support to families in the area.”

Ms Potter also said anyone who visited Foodshare in Yarrawonga and Cobram would be able to access goods just by showing their JBS Australia employee card without the need for any further screening process.

Anyone who would like to donate goods to the personal items collection is invited to drop them in at the MHA Care office in Orr Street, Yarrawonga.

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