Love on the streets of Goulburn
21 March 2015
For the past 18 years, a Salvation Army food van in Goulburn has been active every Friday and Saturday night, reaching out to people on the streets of the NSW Southern Tablelands city.
Between 10pm and 2am, an army of Salvation Army volunteers, aided by many members of the community and other churches, not ony provide food and beverages, but a listening ear, support and guidance where needed to these people.
A large proportion are youth, who are often out on a Friday and Saturday night in the CBD and local parks. Many are socialising, but many are also hungry, homeless, or just need someone to talk to.
“The idea (of a food van) came forward at a town meeting years ago to see if The Salvation Army could help with the youth out late at night,” says Goulburn Salvation Army Corps Officer Captain Tuesday McCall.
“The initiative has a lot of community support, including the Local Council, Rotary, Bakers Delight and other local businesses.”
With at least 30 volunteers serving hot beverages, cold water and bakery goods, Captain McCall says the community has become used to seeing the van and welcome the group of people dedicated to caring for people late at night.
“We don't stay in the one spot but constantly drive around checking on people and making sure, where we can, that they are safe,” she says.
“It’s amazing the many people you come across – all different ages and different walks of life. For example, we have been able to support people of all ages as they go through court.
“Some have run away from other towns and just found themselves in Goulburn not knowing what the next step is or where to go. Just this weekend a man came to the van cold, scared, hungry and had no idea of what to do next, having just left a bad situation in another town and we were there to help.”
Captain McCall praised the volunteers, who “show love and give their time because they care for the community. It’s love with skin on.”
“We are a group of people who come together from the community, from various faiths – but we are together caring and loving this community. Together we are better,” she says.
By Katherine Franks