The Helping Hands Story
Helping Hands Mission Inc. began in 2007 when Melanie Kent was working for the North Essendon Uniting Church. Drought-affected residents of rural Victoria, who were already experiencing economic hardship, desperately needed access to inexpensive, quality clothing. Melanie and her colleagues at the church arranged for donated clothing to be sent up in trucks to central Victoria, where it was sold for $1 per piece. The response was overwhelmingly positive as the locals appreciated the price and quality of the clothing, and the Helping Hands Mission group was established as an outreach of the Uniting Church.
As word spread of the work Helping Hands Mission was doing, and demand for emergency and material aid grew, it was decided that the group would become fully incorporated as a not for profit organisation and run its own op shop on Keilor Road. The shop served as a way to raise funds for aid programs using all the clothes, books, homewares and other items that were being donated. Helping Hands Mission then moved from its Keilor Road shop to the site at Knighton Avenue, and in 2011 also gained access to the warehouse at Fullarton Road, allowing the delivery of aid programs and providing a space to store and sell the huge amount of donations that were now being received.
We’re growing every year and continuing to take on more and more exciting projects to help Victorian families in need. Now in 2019, Helping Hands Mission:
- Feeds thousands of people each week through the Emergency Aid Program - via our Community Kitchen at Fullarton Road, and our three Community Pantries (Sunshine, Fullarton Road and Bridgewater on Loddon) that see over 600 families each week
- Has 4 vehicles on the road, 6 days a week, delivering Material Aid including whitegoods, furniture, clothing, bedding and kitchenware to individuals and families in need
- Provides training and employment pathways for Work for the Dole participants and the long term unemployed
- Runs seven op shops across Melbourne and regional Victoria that are loved by locals and travelling shoppers alike for their great range of high quality and inexpensive clothes, shoes, toys, books, furniture, homewares and bric-a-brac
- Has an army of 300 amazing volunteers that make up the face of the organisation