Art & Design
Posted by Jade Kelly
29. Aug, 2012
For many of us, Melbourne is a busy place. It can be easy to let our problems take focus and fail to check in on those around us. One person actively playing the ‘big brother’ role is Jim Mangioros of Mooney Valley Outreach Centre. As he puts it ‘It’s all about love. It’s nothing else. We’ve just got big hearts for giving.’
After funding was cut nine years ago, the local church members accepted the responsibility of helping the community by any means necessary. Since Jim stepped up to the plate as Program Coordinator two years ago, there stands a list of 75 local sponsors who help make the weekly and monthly food service events possible with donations of food, money and various products.
Each Saturday morning the team prepare a light breakfast and fill countless bags with groceries to be handed out to local families, youths, and the elderly whose pensions barely cover their daily expenses. One member of Jim’s team, Colleen, knows all too well the difficulty of asking for help, as she herself was lining up for a food bag two years ago. Now she is giving back; feeding others whilst feeding her soul. “I don’t know what I’d do without this,” Colleen says, smiling.
The monthly “Feast” Soup Kitchen is, as its name suggests, a free banquet lunch generously supplied by local sponsors, as well as the chance to have a good old chat. The next Feast is scheduled for September 1 and, being the day before Father’s Day, there are already goodie bags lined up for all the struggling dads out there.
While times are tough for those attending these events, Jim explains that even donations are slowing meaning he has to start rationing bags. On top of this, Jim says he needs some more quality volunteers to help make it all possible. The word of mouth through the housing estates seems to be working so he finds himself helping new people all the time, though now it’s his turn to ask for assistance from the people of Melbourne, to continue his work.
While Jim’s resources are currently limited, his vision for the year includes both a Kid’s Youth Centre in Coburg complete with in-house fun house, medical staff and youth workers, as well as developing some emergency housing facilities with the help of corporate sponsors for families in need. These causes close to Jim’s heart are made possible by the generosity and love of many people, and to continue he needs your help!