Tweed Church of Christ
The flood of March 2017 will forever live in the memory of locals caught up in the catastrophic deluge of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which left a trail of destruction in its path and claimed the lives of six Tweed Heads residents. During the floods, Tweed Church of Christ made their Sports Centre available as a Relief Centre for meeting the immediate needs of affected people. Two years on, the church is still providing relief to the homeless and needy through the provision of community meals, clothing and pastoral care.
Read Tweed Daily News: Debbie Devastates the Tweed
Many people respond well in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters, but once it has slipped from the headlines, and the long hard work of rehabilitation and reconstruction, it is much harder to get support.
Homelessness is a huge problem in the Tweed Heads area (near the border of Queensland). Tweed Church of Christ have been serving their local community for many years and they continue to support people affected by the 2017 floods.
Our church is more than a building
“Instead of a church building, our church offices operate out of a working Indoor Sports Centre, geographically located in the midst of seven lifestyle parks. Mostly, they are low cost housing (caravans and demountables) for the marginalised of society e.g elderly, benefit dependent, disabled, drug affected, mental illness, family estranged, domestic violence.”
“We engaged with local caravan park residents and homeless people as well as volunteers from other churches and wider community when we opened the Sports Centre to provide a Relief Centre and a Mud Army during the 2017 floods. This gave us an opportunity to build ongoing relationships with the parks Management who we work with now to coordinate events and projects, with the parks residents themselves and has heightened our profile in the area by linking the commercial building with our ownership of it.”
“We now invite the Leisure Park residents to social gatherings where we provide food, music and the company of our church family. It gives them a feeling of acceptance in the wider community, gives them a social interaction and allows them to forget about their hardships for a while and lets them be listened to and heard. We have had the opportunity to hear many amazing life stories (occasionally they will break down in response to what we give freely), help with specific need requests and have people attend our church activities. E.g our Christmas Outreach.”
Distributing food and clothes
Tweed Church of Christ get support from the Churches of Christ in Queensland and from major retailers (through www.good360.org.au).
“Apart from the immediate local community, we have volunteers reaching out to the homeless. Particularly targeting a group living in the sand dunes. They have been provided with sleeping bags, clothing, toiletries, blankets and helped with contacting their case managers and government services.”
“Our second hamper distribution is happening in May. We have over 1,000 items of new winter clothing we have offered to the Lifestyle Park residents, homeless people and school welfare officers who say they know of homeless families in their schools and single mums who are doing it tough. We will organise an open day at the Sports Centre where they can come to collect the hampers and will provide a BBQ and have pastoral care workers available.”