By ALECIA PINNER
STUART and Nari McGifford have rolled up their sleeves and begun
tackling social issues afflicting Dandenong as the city’s new Salvation
Army corps officers.
The couple is in charge of the Dandenong Salvation Army church in James Street.
Mr McGifford, 33, who is in his eighth year as a minister with the
Salvation Army, said he was looking forward to meeting the challenges
facing the community.
“This area really suits us. Dandenong is a knock-about area with a
high multicultural representation but this does not worry us at all,”
“We do need to come up with creative ways to respond to [such things as] asylum-seeker challenges.”
Mr and Mrs McGifford are also keen to make their presence felt in
Doveton, as the Dandenong church is now responsible for the Doveton
Community Support Centre.
“The Salvation Army is spending more than $1 million on social programs and services in Dandenong and Doveton,” he said.
“It’s a big amount of money but there is a huge need in the area.”
The couple has two children, aged two and four. Their backgrounds
are in youth work in some of Victoria’s most socially disadvantaged
Mrs McGifford, 39, has also put her teaching and community work experience to good use in Auckland, New Zealand.
Mr McGifford said they wanted to engage and help revitalise the community and would run fund-raising events.
They’re off to a good start. The church raised more than $12,000 for their first Red Shield appeal in May.
“We had a goal of $5900, so we were delighted,” Mr McGifford said. “We’re so grateful to everyone in the area.”