A Ballarat restaurant has kicked off the upcoming homelessness awareness campaign a month early, with a series of generous donations to Pay It Forward this week.
Country Casseroles has supported more than $9000 worth of product that's been paid into Pay It Forward including donations from external Ballarat businesses.
After years of donating meals to Ballarat's Soup Bus and Salvation Army groups, owners Ian Tantau and Trish Tantau began the Pay It Foward initiative in late 2018 and have since been amazed by the community support.
"It's been wonderful; a lot of my regular customers are coming and they'll buy themselves a meal and then they'll buy an extra one for people less fortunate."
"Now is the time that is most important. Obviously it's cold and people are looking for good warm food in their tummy, especially if they're in a bit of difficulty to get it," said Mr. Tantau.
"The plan is to get up around $15,000 of support, which Casseroles is subsidizing above and beyond that.''
For every nine meals paid forward, Country Casseroles will donate the tenth meal.
You Might Like: Pay It Forward food charity launches in Ballarat
Homelessness remains an issue that impacts Victorians of all ages.
According to the Council to Homeless Persons data collected at the 2016 Census, from the 24,817 Victorians listed as homeless, 39 percent of them were under 25 years old, while homelessness among Australians over 55 years rose a staggering 28 percent.
Homelessness Week is an annual campaign which seeks to raise the awareness of homeless Australians who may be affected by poverty, mental and physical illness, domestic violence, unemployment or social exclusion.
The campaign is held intentionally in early August - the coldest time of the year, when the homeless are most at risk from extreme seasonal conditions.
This year's awareness raising theme is 'housing ends homelessness'.
In the lead up to the campaign, organisations, groups and individuals are encouraged to run events that grab the attention of communities and local, state and national governments.
Homelessness Week 2019 runs from August 5 to 10, with more information available online at homelessness Australia.
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.