Melville Charitable Fund hampered by funding cut

Booragoon Lions Club president Bob Street, with wife Dawn, who helped  put together hampers.           d447711
Melville Charitable Fund hampered by funding cut
Booragoon Lions Club president Bob Street, with wife Dawn, who helped put together hampers.         d447711

AFTER losing $25,000 in Federal Government funding this financial year, the Melville Charitable Fund has had to make the difficult decision to discontinue its Christmas hamper program.

For more than 10 years the fund, formerly known as the City of Melville Citizens Relief Fund, has provided about 90 Christmas hampers each year to people in need.

This Christmas it has been forced to end the practice in favour of concentrating on providing ongoing emergency relief throughout the year.

The fund is now appealing to kind-hearted local businesses to help it revive its long-running tradition of donating Christmas hampers to residents of the City who have fallen on hard times.

In November the City of Melville council voted unanimously to begin providing an annual donation of $5000 to the fund but it still remains $20,000 short of its annual $45,000 operating budget for 2015/16 and beyond.

Councillor Clive Robartson, who also acts as chairman of the MCF management committee, said that the entire operation was at a crossroads.

“Everyone agrees that the fund is a vital link and a vital pathway for people across the City who are facing financial crisis,” he said.

“The fund currently contains around $200,000 but we need to increase that to around half a million dollars to get the kind of return on interest that will allow us to keep running the programs we had in the past.”

The fund has distributed nearly $600,000 in emergency funding since it was established in 1982 and works in conjunction with the City of Melville to provide food hampers and help individuals who are struggling to pay their bills, in most cases utilities.

“We are really appealing now particularly to businesses across the City of Melville who might be able to contribute,” Cr Robartson said.

“The fund is viewed as a deductible gift recipient and if four or five businesses donate $5000, that will see us through the current financial year and we can build from there.”

In past years the fund spent close to $6000 each year on special Christmas hampers, distributed to people it had helped in the last 12 months.

Cr Robartson said that would not occur this festive season.

“We are continuing to meet the need for emergency relief hampers containing food over the holiday period but can’t afford to put together special Christmas hampers,” he said.

If you would like to donate to the Melville Charitable Fund, call 9311 4357 or 9337 5203 or email melvillecharitablefund@gmail.com.