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Community cafe opens door to transformation

Community cafe opens door to transformation

Community cafe opens door to transformation

2 May 2022

Staff barista Michael serves coffee from the Adelaide City Salvos cafe set up with Red Shield Appeal funding.

When Adelaide City Salvos officers Sarah and Shane Healey arrived for work one morning not too long ago, they found a man sleeping in the covered porch area of the building.   

“It’s not uncommon for people to sleep there,” says Sarah. “Because it provides protection from the elements.”  

Sarah and Shane offered the man a cuppa and had a chat. They would repeat this routine over the next few weeks as the man spent two or three nights sleeping outside the building, disappearing for a while, and returning. There was always the offer of a hot drink, food and connections with other support services. Over time, the man offered to help set up the cafe tables and started to linger longer. He then took up the offer to speak with The Salvation Army’s homelessness services. 

“Now,” Sarah says, beaming, “he’s got housing through our homelessness services. Just the change in him because a group of people cared and believed in him. He’s got a grin on his face he just can’t shake. He’s working his way through recovery, but he feels valued. He’s such a nice guy. It’s been a privilege to be able to see that change and transformation.” 

Seeing that transformation may not have occurred if Adelaide City Salvos hadn’t access to Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal (RSA) funding to set up a community cafe space this year. It’s a partnership between Doorways (emergency relief), The Salvation Army’s homelessness services, and the Adelaide Salvos ‘DUO’ (Do Unto Others) community meal (which is also Red Shield-funded).  

The cafe is an inviting space where people can come on weekday mornings for donated food that is given away in partnership with Doorways. They can also access various support services, depending on their needs.  

“It’s been really good because the community can drive past and see that something is happening,” says Sarah. “It’s a much more inviting atmosphere for people to come, and they don’t feel like they have to queue up in an undignified way. They can come in and find connection and conversation and then be able to ask in a safe place for the services they need.”  

The cafe space is also used to train local baristas in partnership with other services.  

The RSA-funded cafe is an embodiment of The Salvation Army’s mission. It works for justice by allowing people to come to a safe space and have their stories heard. It’s building healthy communities because people attending feel belonging and significance and are encouraged to participate through service or other activities. And people are cared for.  

“It’s creating faith pathways because it’s unapologetically a place where Jesus is honoured,” says Sarah. “Here in Adelaide, our mission is to love the city like Jesus does, and we wanted to create a place of dignity and worth and the Red Shield funding makes that possible through our cafe.” 

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