JOINING FORCES: Guardian Funerals regional manager Scott Steenson (left), Salvation Army senior soldier Wilma Grace and  corps officer at Ballina, Lieutenant Wes Bust.
JOINING FORCES: Guardian Funerals regional manager Scott Steenson (left), Salvation Army senior soldier Wilma Grace and corps officer at Ballina, Lieutenant Wes Bust. Yvonne Gardiner

Blanket appeal warms homeless throughout Northern Rivers

FUNERAL homes attached to Invocare have launched a winter blanket appeal throughout the Northern Rivers region.

For every blanket donated by a member of the public, the funeral homes will give a new blanket to The Salvation Army.

Public relations manager for The Salvation Army (Gold Coast and Northern Rivers),  Rowan Johnstone, said blankets were needed at Salvos Connect Centres, Gold Coast Accommodation Service and Gold Coast Recovery Services. 

"Throughout Queensland, NSW and the ACT each night, 2500 clients of The Salvation Army are accommodated in crisis traditional housing, long-term or resident-funded services. Each week over 4500 people are provided with a bed," Rowan said.

"(A total of) 44,083 homeless people - 42% of Australia's homeless - in the 2011 census were children and youth under 25 years. That's an increase of 17% since the last census in 2006."

Guardian Funerals regional manager Scott Steenson said The Salvation Army saw men, women and children who struggled to keep warm, especially the homeless and those affected by drug addiction and mental illness.

"This winter we are again responding to the needs of some of the most disadvantaged in our community with a blanket donation drive, to give warmth and comfort to those in need," Scott said.

"It's giving back to the community. It engages the community to come to us and donate blankets.

"It gives us a direct link to the Salvation Army, who've got a wonderful name and reputation.

"People of all denominations gravitate to the Salvation Army."

Corps officer at Ballina, Lieutenant Wes Bust, said the Salvos were ready to help the disadvantaged.

"If they're homeless, they can come and see us for blankets," he said.

"There is a transient population of homeless folk - we have peaks and troughs.

"At this time of year, it's much more difficult to live in a homeless situation.

"The cold makes it very unpleasant."

Blankets can be dropped at the following locations:

Guardian Funerals - 74 Kalinga Street, Ballina  

William Riley Funerals - 651 Skyline Rd, Goonellabah

Casino Funerals  - 62 West Street, Casino


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