Putting the relationship first

By Salvation Army Major Brendan Nottle

The massive crack of thunder and the blindingly bright flashes of lightening smashed the darkness in my bedroom to smithereens and snapped me from my slumber at 3am in the morning. 

But the one thing that kept me awake for the rest of the night was the image of the man that had literally positioned himself inside a bridge to sleep. As that man’s mind began to relax and his body slowly began to recuperate from the hours upon hours that he had spent mindlessly wandering the streets of the city, he had needlessly put his life at risk by sleeping on the very edge of a rapidly and unexpectedly rising Yarra River.

People are doing all they can to ensure that the city’s most vulnerable are kept alive.  

The City Salvos do all they can to not only keep people alive, but to actually give them a life.

Many of the people that we see have convinced themselves that the rest of society views them as nothing more than human garbage. Some even refer to themselves as being human cardboard – one dimensional creatures that have nothing of any worth whatsoever to contribute to society. I understand that this is the messaging that they have had thrust upon them right throughout their lives. 

That is why at the City Salvos at Bourke St, we have moved from a transnational model of care to a relationship first approach to caring for the individual. Rather than having a person receive a bag of food and be sent on their way, we are absolutely committed to “the long haul” with individuals. If we are going to see significant transformation occur in people’s lives and circumstances, then there must be significant investment of time and resources for the long-term, simply because every single individual is worth it.

To be able to effectively implement this model we need to ensure that we have adequate resources to do it.

This month The Salvation Army is running its annual Red Shield Appeal. For the first time in 55 years, we are unable to door knock because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, we are encouraging people, if they are able, to donate online at tiny.cc/project614

Together we can ensure that no one is left in need •

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