A Christmas Invitation to Melbourne’s Homeless
15 December 2015 at 2:28 pm
A team of young philanthropists has taken a leaf out of iconic Melbourne philanthropist Sidney Myer’s giving history and will open the doors of the Arts Centre in Melbourne to up to 1,200 homeless people to share a traditional meal on Christmas Day.
A Christmas Invitation is a collaborative project that has been organised by members of Philanthropy Australia’s New Generation for Giving program with support from the Arts Centre Melbourne.
Organisers said they had also been working with Not for Profits including The Salvation Army, Youth Projects and Melbourne City Mission to help organise the event.
James Ostroburski, event organiser and founding member of the New Generation for Giving program, said one of the events that inspired the lunch was a Christmas event held in Melbourne during the Depression.
“In 1930, at the height of the Great Depression, Sidney Myer arranged a lunch for 10,000 unemployed people and their families at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building. There were five sittings, of 2,000 at a sitting, free rides on trams to reach the venue, a band playing and a gift for each child,” Ostroburski said.
“It was an unprecedented act of generosity in Australia and an inspirational one.”
Great granddaughter of philanthropist Sidney Myer, Anna Spraggett, said the project has received significant support.
“We have raised over $90,000 through a crowdfunding campaign and private donations to make this possible, and Arts Centre Melbourne and others have been incredibly generous with in-kind support. Some 90 volunteers have registered to help on the day,” Spraggett said.
Opening its doors for the first time on Christmas Day, Arts Centre Melbourne is providing the Christmas meal at cost as well as managing ticketing for the day, along with staffing security and event logistics.
“Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year and I am thrilled that Arts Centre Melbourne is able to partner on this important project. Helping to provide a day of celebration for Melbourne’s less fortunate will be one of the highlights of 2015,” Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer, said.
Not for Profits who are able to assist with reaching out to individuals and families that would like to attend A Christmas Invitation can email Jodie Elg from the Ostroburski Family Fund.