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Ballarat junior youth support those addressing homelessness and food insecurity

A junior youth group in Ballarat, Victoria has focused its latest service project on housing and food insecurity at a time when the region’s social services are under increased pressure. 

The Delacombe Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program (JYSEP) recently dedicated its time to supporting those experiencing homelessness in the city, raising funds for Ballarat’s Soup Bus – a charity providing warm meals to those in need – after the organisation put a call-out asking for more donations. 

The group curated and facilitated a community carnival complete with a bake stall, pot-planting, balloon animals, raffle prizes, apple bobbing, sack races and carnival games. Adults, children and young people from the community rallied in support of the service project, baking for the stall, purchasing goods, and donating funds.

The Delacombe junior youth spent an afternoon baking for the carnival to raise funds for the Ballarat Soup Bus.
The popular bake stall at the JYSEP community carnival raising funds for the Ballarat Soup Bus.

More than $330 was raised, with the junior youth able to stock up on essential items for the Soup Bus including long-life milk, soup cans, tea and coffee, rice, noodles and jelly. 

JYSEP participant Ella said she loved seeing everyone at the carnival helping out and “being happy, knowing they are helping others”. 

Participant Matilda said she felt like homelessness was a serious problem that needed to be addressed, particularly because of how people were treated living on the streets. She said it was important to try and “make a difference”.

Participants in the Tug-Of-Peace at the community carnival.
The balloon animal stall was manned by two children from the children’s classes.

The Ballarat Soup Bus says demand for their services has tripled recently, as cost of living pressures increase and the wintertime draws near. Upon receiving the donated items, the organisation said it was “people like you who keep us going”, presenting the group with a certificate and a box of treats. 

Homelessness has become more visible across Victoria’s western region over the past six months, with more individuals sleeping rough on the streets, along riverbanks, and on lake shores. The city’s crisis accommodation services are also under the pump, with more than 70 people currently known to be living on the streets in the city of Ballarat alone. 

Ballarat Soup Bus volunteer with Delacombe JYSEP facilitator after receiving the donations.

The Baha’i community’s Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program assists young people to identify the negative forces that are prevalent in society and empowers them to contribute towards the well-being of their neighbourhoods. 

Junior youth groups the world-over are leading a range of social action initiatives addressing the spiritual and material needs of their communities while inspiring young people to take charge of their own transformation and the transformation of their surroundings.

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Ballarat

The Ballarat Baha’i community is located on Wadawurrung Country in Victoria. It is made up of a number of young families, youth and adults who are passionate about harnessing the power of the institute to advance their regional city.

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Published in May, 2024, in Community Stories > Community Building

Available online at: horizons.bahai.org.au/community-stories/ballarat-junior-youth-tackle-issue-of-homelessness-and-food-insecurity/

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