Young volunteers keen to serve at Fred's Van

Vinnies youth volunteers in Adelaide CBD (The Southern Cross/Ben Macmahon)

An increasing demand for meal services for the homeless in Adelaide’s CBD is being met by a group of committed young people working for Fred’s Van, The Southern Cross reports.

Every Monday night they serve hot meals provided by Vinnies through Fred’s Van in Gawler Place.

Last year saw a 25 per cent increase in the number of meals served by Fred’s Van compared to 2015, with the biggest increase experienced by the city service.

Fred’s Van coordinator Teresa Branch said it wasn’t unusual to see young volunteers at the 10 Fred’s Van sites around the state but the Monday night service in the city was the only one operated solely by youth teams.

Vinnies Fred’s Van operates five nights a week in the city, with the Monday food service commencing early last year after Vinnies took it over from the Salvos, providing an opportunity for younger volunteers (aged between 18 and 35) to step in and help.

“It’s been a resounding success and we currently have 40 young volunteers who work on the Monday teams,” said Ms Branch.

“Being in the city there can be many issues and being a volunteer here is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but they have risen to the challenge and are committed volunteer teams.”

Ms Branch added that besides their commitment to making a difference to other people’s lives, team members also benefited from the leadership skills they learned as part of their volunteering efforts.

With still a few weeks of the busy winter season to go, Fred’s Van is well on track to match the more than 39,000 meals served in 2016. Last year saw a 25 per cent increase in the number of meals served compared to 2015, although Ms Branch said this had been partially due to increasing the city service from four to five nights.

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Youth serve up some kerbside care (The Southern Cross)

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