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Newcastle
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Community wardrobe turning heads

If you’re wondering why there’s an open wardrobe filled with food and clothes in the park next to Hamilton train station, there’s a good explanation.

It’s an initiative by ‘Food not Bombs Newcastle’ the local chapter of the international volunteer movement.

It recovers food that would otherwise be discarded and shares free vegan and gluten-free meals with the hungry in over 1,000 cities in 65 countries.

Once every week, the Newcastle group hands out meals, clothes and blankets to the homeless, or those who just struggle to find a hot meal, near Hamilton train station.

And, there’s no shortage of takers.

“There are at least two dozen people who come through every week, but over the few months we have been doing this, we have got to know around 200 people personally; whether they are living on streets or from out of town, we certainly try to support people,” Food not Bombs representative Quinn Squires said.

“A lot of people have just come out of prison or are between housing with the department of housing or in temporary accommodation but, because of their background, have no access to employment.

“Due to COVID-19, some have recently become homeless.

“We connect with a lot of people from different walks of life who have found themselves living on the street for one reason or another.”

The initiative also has the wardrobe – or ‘free shop’ – in the park next to Hamilton train station.

Filled with clothing, shoes, tinned food and rice, it’s operated and maintained by the local community and the Food not Bombs Newcastle crew, and is open to anyone who needs it.

“It provides support like sanitary products and clothing, anyone who needs that is welcome to collect things from there and anyone from the community is welcome to stock it up,” Mr Squires said.

“That’s an extension of the work we are doing and a project the wider community can be engaged in.

“It’s there for anyone who can benefit from that direct support.”

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