The Mackay Homelessness Expo is held each year in Mackay, Queensland. It is hosted by CQ University and organised by CASA.
This year ASAP was fortunate enough to be a part of it. Arriving early to set up, there were already many people waiting to get help and resources. Being a regional city, it can be difficult to spot homelessness in Mackay, and therefore people form the misconception that it does not exist here. Whilst it is not as prevalent as it is in bigger cities and metropolitan areas, this is definitely not the case.
See here for statistics in your region.
I had approximately 45 care packs, 20 coats/jumpers and snacks ready -and before I even had the opportunity to take a photograph, they were gone. It took no more than 20 minutes for my stall to be cleared out completely by people who were in genuine need.
As you can see in the photo above, I ended up helping my neighboring stall, CASA Mackay who were also offering some warm winter clothing.
One thing that surprised me was just how many people were in desperate need of swags. Upon conversing with these people I learned that most were sleeping rough and currently had a sleeping bag however they told me that swags were very hard to come by. Unfortunately I did not have any swags available and so I promised that I would source some. The following day I called every single charity and organisation in Mackay, who all told me that they too did not have any swags available. Because of this, I have decided to include Street Swags military grade canvas 'Jumbuck' swag in each Street Kit that is distributed to those sleeping rough.
Another thing that I noticed is that whilst there are some agencies or organisations who can provide long term assistance, there was a severe lack of short term relief. Mackay does not have a meal service for the homeless - this means that hot meals can be impossible to come by. Anglicare, however does offer small food parcels when they have sufficient supplies.
*f you are a business who has excess food, I urge you to contact Anglicare Mackay on 07 4953 3444 to offer your unwanted food items - they will definitely not go to waste*
In December 2018, after years of handing out care packs, owner/director Kayleigh decided that in order to reach more people she would have to find a way to raise funds and spread awareness - hence the beginning of Australian Street Aid Project (ASAP) and our street kits.
You can see in the images below what could be acheived without funds (with the generous support of the Mackay, QLD community) - imagine what we can do with them! ASAP Street Kits can be purchased here on our website, or you can purchase apparel from our range of kids, womens and mens wear. There is no profit made from the sale of Street Kits. From the sale of our ASAP Apparel line, all profits are used to provide the homeless with Street Kits and to employ people experiencing homelessness.