"...for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me; in prison and you came to see me" Matthew 25: 35-36.
In 1982 Parish Priest Father Ernie Smith, motivated by this gospel message, opened his door and shared a meal with a man who was hungry and homeless.
It was this first act of generosity which led to the formation of Sacred Heart Mission to provide the basic necessities of life - food, clothing, emergency relief, accommodation and companionship to people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage in the Port Philip area in Melbourne.
A small team of committed staff and parishioners from St Kilda West helped prepare simple meals out of the presbytery's kitchen. Within a year more than 70 people were arriving each day for lunch. This led to the use of the Sacred Heart Parish Hall as the Dining Hall.
Today, the Dining Hall continues to be the heart of the Mission, providing breakfast and lunch every day of the year for hundreds of people. Much more than just a meals service, the Dining Hall opens a doorway for people to access a variety of services and support mechanisms offered at Sacred Heart Mission to those that come to us at a time when they are most in need.
The organisation has grown significantly since the early days, we are now a well recognised community service organisation, with Incorporated Association status, a board of governance and a range of complementary, innovative services all focused on addressing the issues of homelessness, social isolation and disadvantage.
In July 2015, we were delighted to welcome Bethlehem Community to our organization. Bethlehem Community provides a safe, community-based living environment with medium and long term accommodation, outreach & support to homeless women in Victoria. With locations in Reservoir & Thomastown, Bethlehem provides residential support and case management, a recreation program and home-based outreach support.