Meet Alfalfa's unofficial community outreach worker, Georgina Abrahams.
Georgina is a social worker who set up Creative Womyn Down Under in 2006 after noticing an increasing number of women experiencing homelessness in the Inner West.
When COVID restrictions were introduced in March 2020, and local food sheds and support services such as Newtown Neighbourhood Centre and Lentil as Anything were forced to shut up shop, Georgina took to making hot meals at her home, almost every day, for these vulnerable women.
Georgina explains: "The majority have experienced domestic violence, which has tripled during COVID, and flee for their lives, often with children. Many suffer from severe PTSD, so being placed into 'mixed-gender' refuges is not an option for them. Government funding for women-only refuges was cut around five years ago, so many resort to living in their cars. The 24 women that I'm currently feeding are from all ages and backgrounds and some are having to home school as well.
As a long-term member, I reached out to Alfalfa House for support at the height of COVID, and was delighted when they donated leftover produce every week. I quickly got to work, making hot vegetarian meals, such as lentil soup and rice every day of the week for these homeless women.
One of the women collects the meals from my home and delivers them to a quiet park in the inner city where the others come for their daily feed, ensuring they have full bellies and are kept warm and nourished.
Pre-COVID, every Monday for many years, we’d meet for lunch, creative activities and discussion. I also held regular fundraisers to help raise money for accommodation, and items such as mobile phones and waterproof swags that become backpacks. I look forward to returning to this, but for now I'm focusing on the very basics of getting these women fed.
Georgina continues: "I feel blessed that I have a warm bed each night. This all began when I was walking through Camperdown Park and a bunch of women were having a chat and I sat down with them and they began to tell me their stories. Many were in their 60s or 70s and had lost their trust in institutions. One had an epileptic fit in the 1950s and because of lack of understanding she was put into a mental institution, which was clearly not the place for her. She stopped taking the drugs that had been prescribed to her, and left after 20 years. She got on the nearest bus and the driver took her into the city where she found other homeless people who were living outside of the system. She had no support. I found a place for her and five other homeless women joined her. They now live happily in their own safe space and each has a pension and Medicare card.
It's thanks to the support of places like Alfalfa House that I've been able to help women find a sense of peace in their lives."
How you can help:
We have a box in store that customers can donate food to, so the next time you're buying things like apples or bananas, we'd love you to drop one or two in the box by the shop entrance.
You can also donate $5 to help provide mobile phone credit, petrol and other necessities for the women. Please call Georgina directly to arrange this on 0406 372 142.