Record funds from Pambula's Samaritan Shop could help provide a crisis shelter

In what Mick Brosnan, of the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast (SJASC) has called “a remarkable response” the Samaritan Shop at Pambula has raised a massive $53,200 over the course of 32 days.

The Samaritan Shop Run by the SJASC was housed in the Masonic Lodge, Toalla Street, Pambula and opened in December. Every day a growing amount of goods from books through to chairs, sofas, and tables were donated by the community who in turn visited the op shop to buy items as well.

Mr Brosnan said: “It was a remarkable response; we had young students from Lumen Christi, older members of the community, ministers and people from Mallacoota through to Wyndham providing help. It really was a community effort.”

Half the money will be used to help local people in need providing food and assistance with power bills and rent.

Mr Brosnan said that the other half of the $53,200 would be used to help bring about a crisis shelter.

It has long been an aspiration of the SJASC to have a shelter particularly for men. The local area offers no such facilities and there are plans, albeit not yet approved by council, to use land at the back of the Merimbula Anglian church in Main Street, to incorporate a crisis shelter alongside new offices.

Mr Brosnan said: “We are really hoping to have a crisis shelter by Christmas and certainly by this time next year but it is in the hands of the Anglican church.”

He hopes that fundraising at the Samaritan Shop will happen again next year and said that there had been some notable responses such as the regular Victorian visitor to Merimbula who dropped by the op shop and handed over a donation of $2000.

The op shop proved to be a meeting point too for many people who enjoyed going to see what was new, what had been sold and to chat with other community members. It also proved to be successful for Jenny Stewart who received great support for her work in helping to supply the remote villagers of Nepal with water tanks.

Inevitably when the op shop closed at the end of January, there was an enormous amount of work to be done to clean out the Masonic Lodge.

Some goods have been taken into storage, some donated to other charity groups who assist those in need such as Vinnies.

“The final Saturday was just an unbelievable sight. There were so many trailers and helpers,” Mr Brosnan said.

He particularly thanked Pambula Rotary Club members, the community and volunteers, Bendigo Bank, Cleanaway and Bega Valley Shire Council for their assistance.

The cause is not over though, and Mr Brosnan said that people can still donate money through the Bendigo Bank, Pambula and said there was still a mobility machine in excellent condition to be sold.

Contact Mick Brosnan on 0410 697 229.

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