The Winter Warmer: Homelessness Relief Campaign has now raised $56,944
Dharma Care’s Mission:
Dharma Care is an Australian charity committed to creating life-changing opportunities for the destitute and disadvantaged. Our mission is to facilitate lasting change, creating a ripple effect that benefits future generations.
Campaign Summary: Winter Warmer Homelessness Relief Campaign
We are thrilled to share the remarkable success of the Winter Warmer: Homeless Relief Campaign held from May to July 2023.
Campaign Progress and Achievements: The Winter Warmer: Homelessness Relief Campaign has now raised $56,944 well above our intended target of $50,000. The campaign was fortunate to be supported by a very special donor who matched donations from $25,000 – $50,000.
As temperatures dropped and harsh weather conditions set in, Dharma Care recognised the challenges faced by individuals and families who struggle to stay warm and healthy.
The Winter Warmer Campaign aimed to raise at least $50K to ensure everyone who finds themselves in that situation has access to adequate shelter, warmth, and nourishment through providing food, sleeping bags, hygiene packs, and tents.
Dharma Care has been working with our local partners, You Have A Friend, Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centre, Fred’s Place – Vinnies, and Murwillumbah Community Centre, to ensure the resources go to where they are most needed across the Tweed region.
Warmth provided to many during the winter months : Funds raised have been put to good use and are supporting people sleeping rough in the region with new blankets, sleeping bags, tents, clothing, food and petrol vouchers provided to many people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Winter Warmer Fundraising Cabaret
Hosted at the Kingscliff Bowls Club, overlooking the ocean, the event provided the perfect backdrop for attendees to embrace the spirit of giving during the winter season. The sold-out Fundraising Cabaret held at Kingscliff on Thursday, June 15, generated a staggering $13,184 in income and donations toward this critical cause.
Event Highlights: The Cabaret Fundraiser included silent auctions, raffles, and multiple opportunities to contribute and support the cause. The attendees’ overwhelming response and generosity surpassed all expectations.
Performers included Mandy Nolan (MC), The Space Cowboy (performance artist), Felicity Lawless and MsEleneous (musicians), with guest speakers David Holmes (Vinnies/ Fred Place), John Lee (You Have a Friend), Lara Lei (Murwillumbah Community Centre) and Letechia Lucas (Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centre).
A poignant moment of the night was the inspiring speakers who shared their experiences and insights into homelessness. Their stories shed light on the challenges faced by individuals without stable housing, and emphasised the importance of community support.
Local artists’ performances added an entertaining dimension to the evening, showcasing their talents and contributing to the event’s memorability.
Dharma Care expresses our deepest appreciation to everyone involved in making the Winter Warmer: Homeless Relief Campaign – a remarkable and meaningful experience. Your support and dedication will make a difference in the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness.
Every contribution, regardless of size, makes a difference and helps us create a lasting impact in our community. Your continued support is invaluable, and together, we can bring about lasting change. Thank you for your generosity, enthusiasm, and belief in the power of community. Let’s keep the momentum going and make a real difference together!
#WinterWarmerEvent #Gratitude #CommunitySupport #MakingADifference
“We have been delighted with the response and the support from everyone who donated their time, expertise or money to this cause. It once again shows what a caring community we are. It also shows that anything is possible when we work together.” Irwan Wyllie, CEO of Dharma Care.
Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centre
PBNC have so far received $12,000 from Dharma Care’s Winter Warmer Fundraising Campaign. These funds enabled PBNC to purchase sturdy backpacks (with a waterproof cover), good quality tents and winter temperature-rated sleeping bags, Coles grocery cards, and Coles Express fuel cards.
Testimonials from people that have been supported – September 2023
*Miles is sleeping rough and came to Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centre (PBNC) on a cold and rainy winter’s day asking for some food. While a meal was heated up for him, he stated that he was worried about where he was going to sleep tonight because of the weather. Thanks to Dharma Care’s Winter Warmer donation, Miles was supplied a kit (backpack with a tent and sleeping bag), to help keep him warm and dry. Miles sent an email to PBNC the following day saying, “Thank you, PBNC, for your kindness, hot food and enabling me to get a good night’s sleep!”
*Ellie is an older woman who had to relocate from the house she was renting, within 3 weeks after unexpectedly being given notice by her landlord. Already financially struggling to survive on a Centrelink payment, Ellie was facing homelessness which she dreaded as she had previously experienced homelessness several years ago.
Luckily, Ellie managed to secure accommodation (during a housing crisis in Tweed Shire) just before her tenancy ended. However, she was unable to cover all her relocation costs, which put her under extreme pressure and financial hardship. PBNC provided fuel and food gift cards that were purchased with donated funds by Dharma Care, courtesy of the Winter Warmer fundraising campaign. Ellie said, “Being able to buy food and petrol with the cards you gave me, meant that I could put money that I saved towards the move. It’s been so stressful these past few weeks and your support has helped me get through it!”
*Zach is residing at a caravan park after living in his car for several years. He has children who cannot live with him due to his accommodation being unsuitable. Despite this situation, he strives to see his children regularly. He is hoping to find housing soon so his family can live together again. After paying for a few unanticipated bills on car repairs and medical needs, he came to PBNC requesting material aid, i.e. food and fuel cards so that he could travel to pick up his kids and drop them back after each visit. Zach said, “The food and fuel vouchers enabled me to afford trips up to the kids, so that we could hang out and have some meals together. Doing these things together mean the world to us.”
*Names have been changed.
Murwillumbah Community Centre
The funds donated by Dharma Care through the Winter Warmer fundraising event have been allocated to Nullum House, their social inclusion and drop-in centre at Murwillumbah Community Centre. This service provides a safe nurturing space for members of the community who may be facing social isolation, homelessness, mental health issues or social and economic disadvantage. Nullum House services include, free community meals, shower and washing facilities, material aid, social programs and support groups.
The funds received from Dharma Care have been paramount in the given times when more people are sleeping rough, coach surfing or in their cars due to the housing crisis that our area has been experiencing for the last few years and incremented by the floods last year. The Nullum House team meets every month to discuss resources needed in the centre and emerging needs among its customers.
From Winter Warmer they are are able to provide customers with material wellbeing and access food supplies for their meals program, providing an average of 120 meals per week.
A PERSONAL STORY
“I was living in Tweed and the place got sold in the middle of the rental crisis. It got sold within 2 months and I had to pack my stuff and put it on storage as I couldn’t find anywhere else to rent. It was a dramatic time, no money to pre-book a shed… no one was helping then.”
I went from couch to couch, scare of the streets, thinking I could maybe find a rental, garage, social housing, other plans…and then I run out of couches and asking, stretching friendships. In the process I even suffered a bit of abuse, but I was safe. But then the judgement of being homeless crawled upon me, the stigma was appalling, and I didn’t feel safe in Tweed Heads anymore.
I came to Murwillumbah suggested by my caseworker, and although it was scary at first, I decided to give it a go. It is thanks to my caseworker and the staff at Nullum House that I have been able to survive. After two days living in a tent in Knox Park it was them who came to motivate me, have a shower…they gave me food. I have every support I most needed. The team here are angels, the services, the conditions of the centre are great. It would be amazing if it was open 5 days a week!”
J has been living in her tent for the past 2 weeks waiting for the assertive outreach team to take her case and find her more stable/transitional accommodation. The process of assessment and eligibility is complicated and involves the individual to abide by certain requirements and steps that sometimes are very difficult to follow without the appropriate support services.
Through Nullum House, J was able to get fed and provide with material wellbeing, emotional support and mostly linked to health outreach services to get a mental health diagnose that provides further guarantees of individuals engagement and responsibility to be successful in the process of accessing long-term housing.