By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS
MAYOR Sean O’Reilly has endorsed a fund-sourcing campaign for a much-needed second-hand truck for the Dandenong-based Friends of Refugees group.
The group requires $30,000 for a three-tonne truck to continue its delivery of donated furniture, food and other basic goods to about 850 asylum-seeker households in Melbourne in the past two years.
Volunteers are still helping families just released from detention centres sleeping on bare floors for months and going without food.
Many of the households are in Dandenong, Doveton and Springvale.
Last Wednesday, the group provided beds, fridges, furniture and food for four households.
Chief executive Sri Samy said its 25-year-old delivery van was showing signs of its “extraordinary work load” transporting goods across Melbourne.
The van had become noisy and was guzzling fuel.
“Still we’re seeing families with absolutely nothing. They’re staying in motels – which is completely out of their budget – until they find a rental house.”
In his online endorsement, Cr O’Reilly stated: “I thoroughly endorse and express gratitude to the Friends of Refugees.
“The Friends of Refugees not only advocate on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees in the community, they take action on their beliefs by providing much needed support to asylum seekers and refugees in desperate need.”
As of last Thursday, the campaign had raised more than $3500 of which Cr O’Reilly contributed $50.
Some of the donor perks include cooking classes by an asylum seeker chef for $1000, a cultural culinary tour of Greater Dandenong for $500 or earning corporate signage rights on the truck for $10,000.
Friends of Refugees also requires volunteer child-care workers to help otherwise isolated parents attend language and arts classes at its Leslie Street base.
A legal professional with an interest in human rights law or experience with asylum seekers and refugees is also required.
For details go to chuffed.org/project/friends-of-refugees-truck/#/home or email firstname.lastname@example.org.