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Sending hope in a shoebox

The Wesley Mission Newcastle Community Hub has partnered with Hunter Homeless Connect and Uniting to launch ‘Shoebox Care’ to help people experiencing homelessness.

Leanne (Wesley Mission Newcastle Community Hub), Nissa (Hunter Homeless Connect) and Rob (Uniting) are all smiles as they prepare to deliver shoeboxes to people in the community.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wesley Mission Newcastle Community Hub had limited opportunities to connect with its community. Their Coordinator, Leanne, felt it was a crucial time to reach out and offer support to those they serve.

Apart from being the hub coordinator, Leanne is also a member of the board of Hunter Homeless Connect, a volunteer-based, non-profit organisation that connects vulnerable members within the community with vital services and support.

Her work in the organisation led her to team up with Nissa, the coordinator of their ‘Connecting the Hunter Program’, and Rob, the Pastor of Uniting Hamilton to launch ‘Shoebox Care’.

“Rob was looking to partner with local services to assist with the development and distribution of his idea and turn it into a project. I joined the dots and thought the three-way partnership would be ideal to distribute the Shoebox Care boxes to those most in need in our local community,” shares Leanne.

“Rob, Nissa and myself saw the growing need for housing. With the extreme prices in rent, lack of accommodation in the social housing space and financial challenges, this space has seen an increased number in those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”

The Shoebox Care initiative aims to meet the immediate needs of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness across Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter region and connect them with local services and wraparound support.

Packed with care, each shoebox consists of hygiene essentials and non-perishable food items, along with a copy of the Hunter Homeless Connect Community Directory, a valuable resource of community services for those seeking support.

“This project is a wonderful opportunity to target those most in need in a way that’s dignified and practical.”

“With every shoebox, we want people to feel safe and connected and let them know no one is left behind,” continues Leanne.

Since its launch in October 2021, the project has delivered 50 boxes, offering opportunities for people to access food, facilities and referrals to much-needed support and services. As part of its long-term goal, the team is committed to continue the project and serve more people within the community.


About the Wesley Mission Newcastle Community Hub

Wesley Mission Newcastle Community Hub provides a network of support for people in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter region. Delivering tailored support for children, young people, adults and senior adults, the hub acts as a first point of contact to more than 120 of Wesley Mission’s programs, including referrals to local community providers to best meet the diverse needs of the region.

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