The initiative to support refugees in the Illawarra is growing. The Community Space at 275 Keira St was filled with stalls and a bustling crowd on Saturday night. Salt Church held its second Winter Night Market to raise funds for the Wollongong Homeless Hub. It was also a chance to introduce its recent development to aid asylum seekers.
“We’re not case workers, we don’t know the system inside out, but what we can do is provide community,” Salt Church and Winter Night Market co-founder Keris Hobbs said.
The church is looking to collaborate with the Illawarra Multicultural Services. They hope to work to alleviate the social isolations many refugees may feel when they arrive.
They plan to host welcome dinners for asylum seekers and to provide a platform to partner local households with refugee families.
Woonona High School held the Illawarra’s second Refugee Challenge earlier this month. Members of Salt Church reached out and attended the event to share resources and to talk about their plans with organisers.
An additional 500 people attended this year’s Winter Night Market and raised over $1000 more than last year.
“They do a great job at caring for vulnerable people in our city. Particularly for the Winter Night Market, we’re thinking how cold it is staying outside,” Ms Hobbs said.
The market was also a way for Salt Church to support local businesses.
“Market stall holders normally have to pay whoever’s holding the markets, this one was going straight to the Homeless Hub and the church wasn’t taking anything,” stall holder Aaron Johnson said.
Samaras Restaurant provided a food truck to support the event. Profits from the night will go help fund a private meal for the Homeless Hub.