The Toyota Cowboys have continued their Christmas tradition of lending a hand to a North Queensland charity that would not usually attract the public’s attention, especially one that supports people who may not have the opportunity of celebrating with their families.

Cowboy Ray Thompson visited the Community Emergency Support Centre in South Townsville today to share a meal and support their new community garden project.

Working with the city’s homeless and most vulnerable people, the centre supports individuals by building their skills and self-sufficiency so that they can successfully move to secure and stable housing.

Delivering gardening equipment and vouchers donated by the Cowboys through corporate partner Willows Mitre 10, Thompson explained the importance of the community garden project.

“It ticked lots of boxes for us. The centre doesn’t have a very high profile and yet it is giving a hand-up to some of the most vulnerable and most marginalised in our community,” he said.

“Their community garden project is also a really smart initiative.

“Not only will it engage the centre’s users in a regular activity that encourages team work and personal responsibility, it's developing skills they can use in their own place. 

“It will also supply the centre’s kitchen so it can provide fresh, organic meals while reducing their costs.”

Centre manager Matt Rogers said the community garden project is a new initiative that the centre is hoping can also attract broader community support. 

“The Community Emergency Support Centre has been working with Townsville’s homeless since 1984 to build their skills and ability to engage themselves back into mainstream society,” he said.

“This donation by the Cowboys through the NRL will enable us to get the project off the ground and running but we would also love to hear from others in the community who would like to donate equipment or their time to the project.”

Cowboys community relations manager Fiona Pelling said: “It’s fantastic to see such a great service here in Townsville with a focus on supporting people to change their situations and live longer and healthier lives." 

“Being able to come somewhere where they're treated with dignity and respect and being valued as an individual can make such a difference.

“Services such as these at the centre are critical in providing direct assistance, social support and case management for those most in need.”      

For more information or to get involved, visit cesc.net.au or call 07 4772 2339.

Main image: Jack Burton (Willows Mitre 10) and Ray Thompson