Carevan a common link in Griffith Citizen of the Year Awards

Carevan a common link in Griffith Citizen of the Year Awards

A Carevan volunteer serves up a meal (above). This service is helping to alleviate hardship in the Griffith community.

Operating out of a renovated caravan and supported financially by UnitingCare, a “food ministry” connects this year’s Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year in the Riverina town of Griffith.

Citizen of the Year Michelle Bordignon coordinates the Carevan service, while Young Citizen of the Year Sarah Davies is a Carevan volunteer. They received their awards on Monday, during a ceremony held as part of local Australian Day celebrations.

Michelle and Sarah are heavily involved in the local community. Michelle also coordinates the Griffith Meals on Wheels service, while Sarah is involved in other organisations and projects, including Midnight Basketball.

The Carevan was established in March, 2014, to provide a nutritious meal to needy locals. To establish the service, UnitingCare’s Community Development Coordinator for the Riverina, Neil Barber, worked with the Carevan Interagency Committee, Griffith Neighbourhood House Community Centre and local Uniting Church members.

In 2013, UnitingCare Ageing provided a $5000 grant to help establish the project. Last July, UnitingCare NSW/ACT provided a further $22,000 to help fund the coordination of more than 80 volunteers involved in cooking, serving, delivering supplies and supporting Carevan customers. Initially, it was expected that 20-30 people would use the service each week. But, from the start of Carevan’s operation, volunteers served about 80 people. This has increased, to serving 120 meals each week.

Carevan has played a significant role in helping to alleviate hardship in the Griffith community, especially for vulnerable young people.

Several members of the Uniting Church Congregations at Griffith, Yenda and Binya support the Carevan project. Hillston Gunbar UCA Congregation has also supported the Carevan, by donating personal care packs for children.

Photo by Gerrit Fokkema

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