Two local women are calling on the Merimbula community to help the region’s homeless in a new way, by ‘paying it forward’.
Lexi Doughney noticed a man in Merimbula living on the streets. Rather than ignore him and continue about her day, Ms Doughney decided to stop and have a chat.
She bought him a coffee and then left some money at the cafe for him to then go back and have his breakfast when he was ready.
“He is a lovely gentleman, he’s just doing it hard,” Ms Doughney posted to her Facebook after the encounter.
Ms Doughney then called on her friends to see if there was anything they could do to help.
“I know that there are many many more homeless people in Australia and the Bega Valley but if we could help just one person, how rewarding would that be?” she said.
This was when Hannah Stove stepped up and suggested getting local businesses involved.
“I gave him a hygiene pack and he said to me ‘thank you, now I can feel human again,’” Ms Stove said.
”Darren has already received support from community groups and he had lunch at Pearls Place on Wednesday but as he does not plan to stay in the area for more than eight weeks he is reluctant to accept much more, but he will accept food.”
Ms Stove and Ms Doughney were overwhelmed with the response they received from the community with people wanting to do something the make Darren’s life easier but unsure as the best way to help.
The two women have approached a number of local businesses and left small containers at Mid Town Deli, Seabreeze Diner and Backstreet Bakehouse. Members of the public are encouraged to leave a small donation which can then go towards providing a meal for Darren or any other person in need.
”I know that people can be reluctant to give homeless people money as there is a stigma that they will spend it on drugs or alcohol, this is different, you are leaving the money with a local business and letting the person know there is a meal there for them when and if they need it,” Ms Stove said. “We know there are a lot of support services out there that do an amazing job but now we are just hoping the average person will leave a small donation or just their change to really make a difference in someone’s life.”
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