Vinnies clash with WYD over homeless meals

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Vinnies staff are concerned over a decision to move meals for the homeless away from their usual distribution venues during World Youth Day.

Ninemsn reports that hundreds of homeless people could go hungry during World Youth Day because organisers have banned charities from running food services in parts of Sydney.

Volunteers running mobile food vans in the CBD at Martin Place and near St Mary's cathedral usually serve up to 400 free meals every night for the city's homeless.

But St Vincent de Paul and the Just Enough Faith charity have been told to re-locate their operations during the five-day eventl.

St Vincent de Paul has been instructed to move two of its food vans from their usual locations at Martin Place and St Mary's cathedral during the festival.

With the next best location available to the charity up to 1.5 kilometres away in Clarence St, Mr Avery said he is worried some of the homeless will think they are simply being moved on by festival organisers.

"My concern is that those that come to our services will not feel appreciated or will feel quite isolated during the event," Vinnies night patrol president Brett Avery said.

While he said he personally supported World Youth Day, Mr Avery told Ninemsn the event was not proving to be the dream run the charity experienced during last year's APEC forum.

"APEC we found were quite well run and we had the respect of all the security that were in the vicinity."

"This (World Youth Day) is going to be quite a different look and feel about it," Mr Avery said.

A spokeswoman for the World Youth Day Coordination Authority said there was no other option but to move the mobile food services which were located in the festival's key event areas and pilgrim walking routes.

"The authority supports the NSW State Government Protocol for homeless people in public places. These mobile food services do a great job in helping homeless people and we will continue to work closely with the City of Sydney to find suitable alternative locations in the CBD," she said.

SOURCE

Homeless could go hungry during Pope visit (Ninemsn, 2/6/08)

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