AN IPSWICH charity is helping make life on the street a bit easier for those in need. The Goodna Street Life op-shop has just installed a 24 hour vending machine which provides food and sanitary items for just 10 cents for the community.
GSL vice president Steven Purcell said they got the idea for the vending machine after seeing a similar initiative rolled out overseas. "We saw the model they did in the UK which was great and thought it was something we wanted to do locally," Mr Purcell said.
"We sourced a local gentleman who was selling reconditioned machines from the hospitals and from there put a call out to the community for donations.
"Every day somebody can come into the shop and get five 10 cent pieces to use in the machine. "We've made it as cheap as possible to make sure it's accessible and affordable."
The initiative only came about two weeks ago and is the only known vending machine in Queensland to provide such a service.
Mr Purcell said the larger goal behind the machine was to help people on the street break the cycle of homelessness and to help restore their independence. "We give away food and hygiene packs already, but this machines allows people to build and maintain some dignity in themselves," Mr Purcell said.
"A big issue for people living on the street is there is a sense of shame in not being able to take care of yourself. "Having items they can come and purchase for 10 cents makes it incredibly affordable, but also something they can take control of and take some pride in."
The vending machine is a trial but if successful, Mr Purcell said they would look into installing more machines around the community. "We want this to be accessible to people in need around the community and would eventually even like to have refrigerated models to provide fresh food," Mr Purcell said.
"We hope to also introduce a swipe card system where people can be registered with us which will give them access to five items in a day at any of the machines. The Goodna Street Life op-shop is located at 29 Queen Street, Goodna.
For more information about the vending machine, visit the GSL op-shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/goodnastreetlifeopshop/ or call: 0455 995 561.
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