Volunteers and supporters of The Shopfront in Maylands celebrated the homeless outreach centre’s 10th anniversary last week alongside many of the people the centre has helped over the years.
More than 70 people gathered in the concrete backyard of Shopfront, which was decorated with garden chairs, flowerpots and streamers by students of La Salle College for the special morning tea.
Shopfront Director Brian Tierney thanked all past and present volunteers and supporters of the centre as well as the St Vincent de Paul Society and the Department of Human Services, which provide assistance to Shopfront.
“The wonderful thing about Shopfront is all that interconnectedness, so many donors that are helping Shopfront regularly,” he said.
“The day to day running of The Shopfront is very much dependent on the work of Vicki Battistessa, Joan Cunningham, Kathryn Coulson, Br Russell O’Brien and Greg Pharo, and Br Denis O’Brian who attends in a pastoral capacity”.
The State member for Maylands, Liberal MP Lisa Baker, said Shopfront does an outstanding job of bringing people together.
“This is an amazing institution; it’s so good because, not only does it help the most disadvantaged in our community, but it brings together people who want to help them,” she said.
Shopfront, in conjunction with the St Vincent de Paul Society and the Department of Human Services, provides people with urgently needed clothes and food as well as mobile access to Medicare and Centrelink and searching for emergency accommodation.
Above all, though, is the friendship and support its volunteers offer to everyone who has walked in through the Shopfront doors over the past 10 years.
Shopfront was the brain child of Perth Archdiocese corporate services manager Julie Williams back in 2002, when she became concerned about the increasing number of homeless people or people in need who were coming to the Archdiocese office for help.
“I went to see the Archbishop and said ‘there’s a problem we need to do something about it.’ He said ‘why don’t you go and start a shopfront’,” she told The Record.
“As I walked out the door I thought, how am I going to do this, where am I going to start… it started as a very small beginning but it has grown and it has been truly blessed by so many people and I am happy to be a part of this work of God.”