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2 OCT 2020

Community bands together for those in need

The United Against Homelessness group, a Catholic community of the Vineyards Parish in the Cessnock area, has been using the Return and Earn container deposit scheme for the past year to fundraise to support two local soup kitchens, Soupz On and Hunter Hands of Hope. Members collect recyclable containers from individuals, as well as at community and sporting events, and pick up litter around the town.

Last year the group was recognised at the Return and Earn Litter Prevention Award at the Keep Australia Beautiful NSW 2019 Tidy Towns Awards for their remarkable work.

We recently caught up with Debbie Barry from United Against Homelessness to chat about how things were going under these challenging times.

She says fundraising through Return and Earn has slowed down, but not stopped. Members used to take their Return and Earn dockets to the church, but services are now on hold. However, people are still saving their dockets to drop off at other times.

Debbie added that even just promoting the Return and Earn fundraising has raised more awareness in the community about the causes they support. As a result, many people in the community have directly donated money and goods to assist the homeless.

Debbie, who volunteers at Soupz On herself, says a local Italian restaurant that began by donating its empty drink containers, now regularly donates takeaway meals for the charity to distribute.

This is especially important right now due to the economic impact of the current situation, says Debbie, “I think a lot more people will be doing it tough in the long-term, and there will be more need from services like the soup kitchens.”

Return and Earn encourages customers to be safe. We have taken measures to ensure good hygiene and social distancing practices are taking place. It is now possible to return your cans, bottles and cartons easily through the Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) without needing to touch anything at all – except your own containers.

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