Homeless given van-load of life’s essentials

Edna Wilson, Sharen Muller and Bob Kotic with food, clothing and bedding donated to St Vincent de Paul by Illawarra Credit Union staff and members.Picture: MELANIE RUSSELLIt is Illawarra Credit Union’s 40th birthday but members and staff have decided to celebrate by giving to others.

This week the credit union handed over a van-load of food, clothing and bedding to St Vincent de Paul to distribute to the homeless.

A steering committee of ICU staff has organised three charity drives for the 40th anniversary and members have quickly come on board with dozens of people busy knitting and donating items.

Initially ICU had planned to make one large donation at the end of the month but so many employees and members were concerned about the recent cold snap, everyone was keen to fast-track the delivery.

When St Vincent de Paul was contacted this week it wasted no time organising a van to pick up everything from beanies to socks and toiletries which had started to fill ICU’s head office foyer.

St Vinnie’s regional president Denis Walsh said it was an amazing collection in such a short time.

He said they would distribute the items to dozens of people in need over the coming days.

“Here in Wollongong there are probably 100 or so people who physically live on the streets on a permanent basis,” Mr Walsh said.

“But there are many others who live hand-to-mouth from cars to temporary accommodation who come under the definition of homeless as well.”

ICU charity committee chairwoman Sharen Muller said the response had been fantastic.

“One of the members of the Dapto branch knitted beanies and scarves and had her husband bring them in so we could not identify who she was,” she said.

Mrs Muller said the credit union had a history of involving its staff in community activities.

They have done everything from send books to Samoa to provide musical instruments for children at Para Meadows.

“Not only do our staff members feel like one big family but we encourage our members to feel exactly the same,” she said.

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