A smorgasbord of musical entertainment was served up to an appreciative audience at the Dining Room fundraiser concert on Saturday night. In it’s second year, the fundraiser, held at St. John The Divine Anglican Church in Croydon raised awareness and much needed funds for ‘The Dining’ room, a service that provides free meals and support to struggling families and the homeless.
With over 200 in attendance, the audience was delighted by performances by Opus 21 Big Band, Sunbury Divas and Suns of Sunbury Community Choirs and the Oxley College Senior Choir and a Capella group ‘Selah’.
David Knoop, director of the Dining Room and organiser of the event, spoke passionately during the night, sharing alarming statistics on just how prevalent homelessness is. He said, “on any given night, a population the size of an MCG crowd are with out a home”. He explained that homelessness can be caused by many reasons, including loss of employment, mental illness, domestic violence, sexual abuse and family breakdowns. Mr. Knoop said that this brings many to live out of cars, in shelters or on the streets, putting themselves in vulnerable and often dangerous situations.
The Dining Room through the support of events like this and with the help of over 50 volunteers, provides free meals to distressed families and those with no home. Oxley College provides students with opportunities through its Community Service program to assist, and many continue to volunteer on a Tuesday night in their own time to help with the service of meals. Past student Briony Pitts continues her involvement with the program after graduating from Oxley last year.
The event called on the community to actively raise homelessness as an issue and continue to apply pressure on community leaders and our politicians to do more to help the most needy, while challenging us not to turn a blind eye ourselves.
The night concluded with a rousing performance of ‘In the Mood’ by the Opus 21 Big Band, where the audience stood and danced with great enthusiasm, a highlight of the night.