MORE than 300 people have volunteered to spread some love around Cockburn this coming week thanks to a remarkable young woman.
Emily Hamilton, a member of Centrepoint Church’s Bibra Lake congregation, wanted to do something for her local community so she came up with the idea of the Love Thy Neighbour project.
She pitched the plan to the church’s Beyond the Walls outreach group and with a team of helpers worked with the Cockburn council, schools and community groups to identify where some helping hands could be most effective.
“The needs were different things like the council acknowledged there were a lot of homeless people moving in from Freo, and morale in some of the low socio-economic suburbs was down,” Ms Hamilton told the Herald.
So they put together a program which includes giving 10 locals a garden makeover, helping others who just need an extra pair of hands around the house, cleaning up streets, pampering kids from PMH who are undergoing chemotherapy, handing out food hampers, going into retirement villages to give residents some company, and running a healthy lifestyle beach event, family carnival and volunteer party.
Ms Hamilton said the response was overwhelming, with 328 people volunteering 1928 hours of hands-on work, while sponsors were falling over themselves with generosity.
“We’d ring them and they’d call back and say ‘we’ll donate $7000 worth of whatever’,” she says in amazement.
She says the organising team’s youth (at 25, she’s the oldest) played a part, as people seemed intrigued by their zest for spreading love and the fact they were young people contributing to the community rather than being zombies behind computer screens.
“And I think the community knew that the community needs it,” she says.
“People generally do want to help, they just needed an avenue.”
Ms Hamilton says every event has a purpose.
Suburb clean-ups are designed to foster a sense of pride amongst residents and a desire to communicate and help each other.
Community groups and government services will provide stalls about a raft of issues at the family day, while the beach party is aimed at diverting teens away from crime and drugs, an issue she said the council was worried about.
Ms Hamilton says her Christianity plays a big part in her desire to help the community and the church had a big focus on trying to reach others, as it never wanted to be seen as insular and self-serving.
by STEVE GRANT