A Ballarat High School Year 9 student has been commended and thanked for her efforts producing more care packages for homeless locals in the lead up to Christmas.
Uniting Senior Manager of Homelessness Adam Liversage said staff were thrilled when Laila Smith donated another 26 packs to the centre last week.
"It's fantastic. We didn't expect it this year from Laila," Mr Liversage said.
"When she turned up last week and delivered the packs again, it was quite a nice surprise."
Mr Liversage said many homelessness programs in Ballarat have been chronically under-resourced, which has been difficult with a recent increase in rough sleepers in the Central Highlands region.
"We just don't have the funds to be able to provide that day-to-day needs for our homeless people," he said.
"So when someone like Laila comes in year after year, despite lockdowns as well, it's uplifting for consumers."
Mr Liversage said it was "great" young people were proactive in providing a response and creating homelessness awareness.
"They really set the example for what we can be doing to be helping," he said.
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Laila and her mother Chantelle Smith have been growing flowers from their home which they have been selling on their Facebook page 'Community Connectors' to raise funds for Laila's care packages.
Laila has continued to create handwritten notes of support which she has included in each pack.
"I've put extra time into making letters. I've handwritten every letter that I put in the packages," Laila said.
"Stuff like 'Keep fighting because there's people out there trying to help you', 'Just hang in there', and 'It'll get easier'," she said.
"They don't have as much as I do, so I'm just trying to help improve that and help them get a better life."
Laila has also been nominated for a 3BA Ballarat Spirit Award for her dedication this year.
Ms Smith said she was "extremely proud" of her daughter's work for the community and commitment to social justice.
"It's awesome that she's getting some recognition for all the hard work, but she loves it (helping people)."
Uniting Ballarat has encouraged any residents in the position to donate goods such as vouchers, non-perishable items, clothes, blankets, and sleeping bags, to do so over the Christmas period.
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