By Craig Zammit
MELBOURNE: Harvey Norman has joined forces with GE Commercial to help The Way Community, a Melbourne-based shelter for homeless men, by providing voluntary services as well as furniture and appliances to help house both the homeless and the volunteers who assist in their care.
The Way Community, part of Shekinah Homeless Services, offers long-term residence for up to 10 homeless men at a time and works closely with a number of community groups and local hospitals to give homeless men care and financial assistance.
Harvey Norman will be pitching in by donating some desperately needed items such as a new bed, wardrobe, lamp, heater and even new coffee facilities.
GE’s established Volunteer Program sees company employees lending their services to worthwhile causes, sometimes requiring overnight stays with The Way Community.
“To provide the highest levels of care to our residents, our volunteers often stay overnight,” said The Way Community co-coordinator, Jill Sealey.
“Currently the room they stay in is extremely basic and does not even have a heater or lamp, so it’s a huge ask for these people who are already giving up their time. The assistance we’re receiving from Harvey Norman and GE is going to make the room a million times better and hopefully attract and retain more volunteers,” she said.
“Harvey Norman and GE will help us install the new furniture and prepare the room beforehand,” said Sealey.
“Last year the GE team did a massive wall and floor clean for us which, while it doesn’t sound like much, is one of those things we just never have the time or money to do.”
Daniel Blizzard, GE’s Volunteer leader for Victoria, believes the smooth process of upgrading The Way Community centre is thanks to its long-term relationship with Harvey Norman and its existing volunteer program.
“We see our volunteer program as an extremely important way for us and our employees to give back to the community,” said Blizzard.
“The Way Community and the other Shekinah groups do a fantastic job but with limited funding – it can be a struggle. We strongly encourage our employees to take part in the program and are happy to contribute what we can to such a worthy cause,” he said.
The Way Community receives no government funding and is run purely by volunteers, relying solely on donations for its future survival.