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The Early Morning Centre - UnitingCare Canberra City
Addressing issues of homelessness
Dear Friends and Supporters of the EMC
What an extraordinary year this has been. The thick smoke haze that smothered Canberra in January and kept us all inside finally lifted only to be replaced by the threat of COVID-19 which also kept us inside and isolated from each other. However the EMC stayed open through all these challenges and has continued to work with our guests who are experiencing homelessness or are socially isolated.

Breakfast has become a takeaway meal, as has lunch, however we are working towards a phased approach to seated breakfasts over the next few months. Numbers inside the EMC have been limited but the all important access to computers, phones, mail, showers and washing has remained, as has the opportunity to have a cuppa and a chat with staff.

As the restrictions have eased, so the numbers allowed inside have increased and service providers have been able to return. Everyone is now looking forward to the EMC Christmas lunch on Wednesday, 16 December.

Christmas lunch

EMC Guest Christmas Lunch 2019
This year we are looking for donations of $20 gift cards from Woolies or Coles to add to the Christmas hampers for each guest. If you are able to help please drop them into the EMC any weekday between 9am and 2pm.

It's been a tough year for many of our guests so having the luxury of a card to spend as they wish would be a great way for them to end the year. We are very fortunate as our Christmas hampers are being supplied by the Islamic community and the Egyptian Coptic Church. We thank them for their generosity.

Fundraising during a pandemic

We started 2020 with an ambitious fundraising program but one by one our planned events had to be abandoned. We are very grateful for two events that were still able to be held.

Jennifer Andrew, partner of our Patron, Tim Gavel, held a sale of lamps that she had created from various repurposed materials. To comply with Covid restrictions the sale was held over several nights and the lamps were beautifully displayed in a garden. Our thanks to Jenny for her generous donation to the EMC from this sale.
Photo of lamps from fundraiser
Jazz in the Garden is usually an annual Spring event held in Donna Stewart's beautiful Reid garden with Geoff Page's Charity Jazz Band providing the entertainment. This year it was a private event with Donna's friends gathering for the afternoon to listen to the band and explore the garden. Many of them then made a donation to the EMC. We really appreciated their interest and their willingness to support the EMC when times were far from normal.
Photo from Jazz in the Garden in 2019
Not surprisingly, without our regular fundraising events donations to the EMC are down this year. This is an important part of our budget and we are very grateful for the generous donation we received from the family of the late Rev. David Webster, a long-time supporter of the EMC.

The easiest way to donate is to do so online using the Hands Across Canberra website. All donations $2 and over are tax deductible and receipts are issued.

Visit to EMC from HRH

HRH Princess Angelika Latufuipeka Halaevalu Mata'aho visited the EMC on Monday 23rd November and brought along a generous assortment of food donations for the centre. HRH Angelika Latufuipeka Halaevalu Mata'aho along with being a member of the royal family has the dual role of being the Tongan High Commissioner to Australia.

The EMC was extremely honoured by this visit and appreciative of the generosity shown in both donations and spirit and kindness shown to the EMC guests on the day. The guests were very pleased to have a member of the Tongan royal family visit with many keen to speak with HRH and have a photo opportunity. An EMC guest on the day said “ It was a rare and special privilege to meet such an amazing person”. Staff and board members agree with these sentiments and felt very fortunate for the wonderful opportunity to meet HRH.

The EMC would also like to express our gratitude to all members of the Tongan community who provide ongoing support and donations towards the EMC.

We are very fortunate that we have such widespread support from all the members of the ACT Community. It helps inspire us here at the EMC knowing so many people care and are willing to assist those in need.

Thank you all and please take care.

A very happy and safe Christmas and New Year to all.

Nicole Wiggins
EMC Director
Visit to EMC from HRH
Pictured above: EMC guests, staff and supporters with HRH
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