Carinity and Neighbours Van driving support for island residents
A desire to help others is driving volunteers to catch a ferry from Brisbane to Macleay Island to support locals facing disadvantage.
Operated by Gateway Baptist Church with support from Carinity, the Neighbours Van is a mobile shop from which free groceries are distributed to people in need who have been referred by local agencies.
Neighbours Van Coordinator, Karyn Frylink, said the service has visited Macleay Island on four occasions in recent months.
“With the increase in the cost of living, times have been tough for many families including those who haven’t experienced such hardship before. The demand for support in the community has skyrocketed,” Karyn said.
“We are seeing on average 28 families on Macleay Island each visit, and we’ve given out around 110 grocery bags full of food. This has allowed us to make approximately 251 care connections to families and individuals on the island.”
Karyn stressed that the Neighbours Van isn’t a walk-in service and that eligible Macleay Island individuals and families have been invited by local charity partners.
“There are six agencies and community organisations that we are working alongside who invite people in need to attend,” Karyn said.
“The van is packed to capacity to carry enough food for the 40 invitations we ask agencies to give away to families in need each month.
“We encourage families and individuals who require support to contact our charity partners – Companion Line, Macleay Island State School, SMBI Listeners, Footprints Community Outreach, Centrelink Macleay Island, and Blue Care Macleay Island.”
The Neighbours Van is sponsored by the Collaborative Community Projects, run by Carinity.
The program funds community outreach programs run by Baptist churches to relieve and mitigate disadvantage, promote connectivity for vulnerable people, and increase the strength of local neighbourhoods.
For the past 16 months the Neighbours Van and its volunteers have visited Logan, primarily to support refugees, asylum seekers and migrants living in that community.
The Neighbours Van has supported 2,903 care connections in Logan during 2023, for people from 16 nations including Iraq, Congo, Burma, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Eritrea, Sudan, Turkestan, Thailand, Burundi, Somalia, Pakistan, Chile and Australia.