Nazareth House residents write messages to Geraldton homeless with sanitary items donated to Centacare

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Nazareth House residents Chris Russell and Elaine Butler show their messages to the homeless.
Camera IconNazareth House residents Chris Russell and Elaine Butler show their messages to the homeless. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

Local aged-care residents wrote heartfelt messages attached to bags of self-care products for Geraldton’s rough sleepers.

More than 1500 soaps, hair conditioners, deodorant and other body products from Sydney-based business Unilever were sent to Centacare to help rough sleepers in Geraldton.

On Wednesday, residents at Nazareth House wrote handwritten messages to place in the bags.

Nazareth House and Centacare volunteer Denise Power, who works with aged-care residents as well as the homeless community, said the idea worked for both parties as aged-care residents sometimes felt hopeless.

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“l often hear residents say they feel as if they have no purpose anymore and they’ve lost their role in the community,” Ms Power said.

“We thought we could take the products to Nazareth House and the residents could put products into the bags for the homeless and write a personal card of encouragement to attach to each bag.”

Ms Power said Geraldton would also see a shower bus and washing machine bus for rough sleepers to refresh and wash their clothes, and the Sydney-based company would continue to donate wash products to Centacare going forward.

“It is wonderful to see the aged helping the vulnerable of our city and the beautiful words they wish to say, even our dementia residents surprised us with their heartfelt support,” she said.

Gift bags will be handed out at the Geraldton Foreshore morning breakfast, hosted by Centacare and Housing First three times a week.

Mayor Shane Van Styn said the wash buses would not solve homelessness in Geraldton, but it would certainly provide some benefit to those in the community who were sleeping rough.

“Geraldton clearly has a homeless problem,” he said.

“This should make some of those in horrible living environments feel more comfortable.”

The wash bus and washing machine bus are due to arrive in Geraldton at the end of the year.

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