Volunteers needed ahead of annual Red Shield Appeal

Major Paul Moulds at Greater West Salvos - St Marys. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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The Red Shield Appeal is coming up again, and Penrith’s Salvation Army team is encouraging you to get involved.

This year, the Red Shield Appeal is celebrating 60 years, and given his long tenure with the organisation, Major Paul Moulds has seen the impact it’s had firsthand.

“I’ve been an officer for 30 of those years. In every community in Australia, it helps you deliver whatever service you’re trying to do in that community, and they differ, but the idea of supporting people who are struggling, and people who are doing it tough, is universal in Australia, and that’s what we rely on – that people do care,” he said.

In particular, Moulds said the initiative is imperative in delivering a wide range of expensive services which the organisation could not otherwise afford.

“Whether it’s buying food to give out to people, or having staff who are available to work with people with very complex problems, the cost of delivering services is very significant,” he said.

“You get limited government funding, but the Red Shield Appeal helps us to do so much more when people give locally to support others in need.”

Major Paul Moulds chats with journalist Cassidy Pearce. Photo: Melinda Jane.

Funds accumulated through the Red Shield Appeal are injected directly into the community they’re raised in, meaning services offered at the Salvation Army’s new St Marys centre will be bolstered.

“In Penrith, there’s huge need – people struggling to pay rents, to get housing, and even some people on mortgages who are struggling each week,” he said.

“We try and offer a range of services to people, depending on what those needs are. Here, we offer drug and alcohol services, we offer counselling services, we offer financial support, and we also have people who help people who are homeless and are having difficulty obtaining housing. We also give food parcels every day, help people with electricity vouchers, and other things to help people get through it.”

Though there are plenty of ways to get involved over the course of the month, including by volunteering and making monetary donations, Moulds said the main thing they need are volunteers over the Red Shield Appeal weekend, which will take place on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26.

“Volunteers are a vital part of everything we do in western Sydney,” he said.

The Salvos team at St Marys. Photo: Melinda Jane.

“All of the services that we run here would not be possible all year without volunteers who support it.

“We’ve got a very small team of full-time staff, and all our food services, our reception here, are all volunteers who come and help us do that.

“At Red Shield in particular, because we’ve got to get out in the community at shopping centres, and knocking on doors, and at McDonald’s – because McDonald’s allow us to have a collector at every McDonald’s at western Sydney – we need volunteers there with a bucket and a Tap & Go machine.

“Without having people standing there in a Salvos shirt, saying ‘thank you’ to people, and reminding people that it is that time of year, we couldn’t achieve the results we do.”

For more information, contact Greater West Salvos – St Marys on 9421 4450, or visit them at 216 Queen Street, St Marys.

Cassidy Pearce

Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.

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