‘Saving the world one can of baked beans at a time’

May 18, 2022

When people became homeless due to the floods, Vic knew how it felt not having a roof over your head.

He became homeless at the height of his drug use,  in-between periods of incarceration for theft. He became drug-free in his late 50s and got support through the Haymarket Foundation.

Now the 71-year-old helps others get back on their feet.

He and his team have done several trips to Lismore and surrounding areas, taking  food, furniture and clothing to those in need.

“I’m saving the world one can of baked beans at a time,” muses Vic, who has spent the last 14 years of his life volunteering to help the disadvantaged.

“One of the Haymarket Foundation staff suggested I do some volunteering with my local church and suddenly, I found purpose,” he says.

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Vic has helped thousands of people through his resourcefulness and hard work. He volunteers for C3 Cares, which is part of God in the City Church in Darlinghurst, which funds the work.

He’s got a warehouse full of essentials and a large truck to take food donations to where it’s needed most.

“I see the devastation of people who are affected by disaster. My empathy kicks in, but you have to hold yourself back a bit, so you can do what is needed,” he says.

Vic began his charitable work by putting on free lunches for people experiencing homelessness around Darlinghurst.

“Their stories are so relatable, because I’ve been homeless myself.”

It’s that compassion which has seen him serve those in need including the floods, bushfires and in drought. He’s on the road most days – and never takes a holiday.

“I had the right case workers and it made all the difference,” he says of his recovery journey with the Haymarket Foundation’s Bourke Street Program. “I also reconnected with my family while in the program.”

He’s in regular contact with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but finds it difficult to be reminded of the years of drug use, incarceration and for being “a thieving scumbag”.

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Photo: Grant Turner, Mediakoo