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Order of Malta needs you to ride Parramatta’s new homeless van

By Jordan Grantham, 28 August 2018
The Order of Malta Community Care Van assists the homeless in Parramatta. Image: Australian Association, Order of Malta

 

The Order of Malta’s new Community Care Van has hit the road in Parramatta.

This innovative service brings medical care and essential goods to homeless people in the greater Parramatta area.

Volunteers with full, unrestricted driving licences and medical, nursing or paramedical knowledge are most needed for the service.

“Nurses can make a huge difference to the homeless,” Michelle Rees said, spokeswoman for the Australian Association of the Order of Malta.

“I’ve seen nurses take blood pressure readings, bandage wounds, injuries and have people in critical condition be admitted to emergency wards who might otherwise not be taken seriously.”

The driver and others who accompany the medical professional also help by distributing goods and connecting the homeless to available services.

Goods distributed include dental health kits, water, women’s sanitary products, hats, sunscreen and the Order of Malta’s Coats for the Homeless.

The Parramatta van expands on the success of the Order’s Community Care Van in central Sydney.

VOLUNTEER NOW: Email info@smom.org.au for the volunteer form

“Our unique coat has been designed in close consultation with homeless people themselves, to ensure it meets their specific needs,” David Hall AM said, a senior member of the Australian Association of the Order of Malta.

“It is three-quarter length, shower-proof, quilted and warm. Importantly, it is black so the person wearing it is inconspicuous, after feedback revealed their biggest fear is being assaulted by drunks or thugs.

“Unlike swags, our coat is both portable and mobile, making it easy to walk and run in, and carry or stow during the day. It also has secret pockets inside to hold a few valuables.”

The coat has the warmth of a sleeping bag but allows unrestricted movement of the feet for escaping difficult situations. It is also designed for maximum comfort during sleep.

The Parramatta van is donated by the Dominguez family and is based at the Diocese of Parramatta’s chancery office in Parramatta.

“The Central Eastern Region of the Order of Malta records its extreme gratitude and appreciation for the invitation and welcome received from the Parramatta Diocese and in particular to the Vicar General, the Very Rev Fr Peter G. Williams, without whose generous support, dedicated efforts and encouragement, this launch would have been exceedingly difficult,” David Hall said.

Sandersons Mercedes, Rushcutters Bay, donated the van’s refurbishment, livery and ongoing maintenance but running costs and the cost of distributed goods are reliant on the community.

Make a tax-deductible donation to the Parramatta Community Care Van of the Order of Malta, online by clicking this link: www.orderofmalta.org.au/i-want-to-help/donate-now

Cheques would need to be payable to The Order of Malta and sent to:

Parramatta Van
The Order of Malta
33-37 West Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010

 

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