Mercy Associates Ballarat Care Project
Sisters and Associates gathered recently to assemble care packages for Berry Street, Ballarat, which supports families in crisis by offering therapeutic services and safe places for mothers and children escaping family violence, as well as emergency support for adolescents and men. It follows a tradition of Mercy Associates donating care packages to residents of Lisa Lodge, a service for adolescents initiated by Rita Hayes rsm.
When Berry Street assumed responsibility for Lisa Lodge, Rita was keen for us to continue to offer support. She had the satisfaction of assisting in assembling the first consignment of Care Packages for Berry Street in November last year.
Many of the items included in the packages are donated by Sisters and Mercy Associates. The basic hygiene items consist of soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush and tissues. Shavers are also included in the men’s packs. Many donate additional items. One of the delights of the project is the number of Sisters, Associates and friends who hand knit or crochet teddies and toys, baby rugs, baby jackets and beanies. It was a joy to hand these beautifully crafted items to Berry Street staff, knowing how thrilled young mothers would be to receive such a gift for their baby or toddler or child. Half the mothers we help are under 25 years, while one third of the children are younger than five.
We wanted to do more for these families and were fortunate to receive a grant from the Ballarat Foundation which enabled us to purchase $500 in nappies and 150 pairs of socks for women, men and children. The grant was made possible by the Janine Owen Fund. This fund was set up by Janine’s husband, Tim after Janine’s tragic, accidental death in 2012. Tim chose our project as one of three he financially supports. We will continue to donate 200 Care Packages and extras 2-3 times this year.
Fifteen Sisters and Associates gathered to assemble the packs, have a lot of laughs and a cuppa and cake at the end. Four Berry Street staff filled three cars with Care Packages and other donations. Thanks to our Committee, Jo Rix and Margaret McDonald for their help and support, the volunteers who help assemble and to every person who donated items or money to support this important project.
Anne Tudor, Mercy Associates Ballarat
Messages to: Carmel Ross, Mercy Associates
30 June 2017