Volunteers at Mama Lana’s Community Foundation are thanking the community for their assistance after a dedicated ex-patron’s stolen vehicle was safely returned.
Penrith local, Richard Porrelli dedicates his time to volunteer for the foundation after they helped him get back on his feet when he was living on the streets.
His old white Ford Courier ute is well-known around town as he constantly runs errands, picks up and drops off goods and performs maintenance jobs.
Last week the vehicle was broken into, hot wired and taken whilst Mr Porrelli was dropping off goods to the foundation.
Over 500 people shared a post about the theft on Facebook and in a bizarre twist, it was returned a few days later.
Founder of Mama Lana’s Lana Borg said it is a perfect example of good karma.
“We helped him out back when he was homeless and now he is nothing but a Godsend to us, going above and beyond to help,” she said.
“He is always asking whether we need a hand rather than if he needs something for himself, he is now here every day doing a whole range of things.
“We were devastated when it was taken, I cannot understand why anyone would take it but we are just so relieved it has been returned.”
Although the vehicle was returned, the contents inside have not been. This included tools, clothes and even a washing machine he was dropping off to a patron.
Ms Borg said it is heartwarming to see that members of the community are already reaching out to donate items.
Mr Porrelli said he doesn’t understand why it was stolen nor returned but he is very thankful for it to be back in his possession.
“I’m really happy it’s been returned, I have some health problems so I can’t walk around too much and even though they stole my medication out of the car, the fact that it has been returned is great,” he said.
Sometimes those who have the least still want to give the most, with six former patrons now volunteering regularly at the foundation.
The ute features a bumper sticker reading “always be kind”, begging the question as to whether it was returned in guilty conscience.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.