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Two marshal 'angel' volunteers

SOPHIE JOHNS

A local couple, Bev and John Lowe, have been working together for the past decade, lending a hand to the less fortunate people of Perth.

The two retired farmers started their work by preparing soup in their own home, before heading to the streets of Northbridge to feed the homeless.

Ms Lowe says she still remembers the first day the couple’s life changed.

“We were driving down Newcastle Street in Perth and I just happened to glance over and saw people sitting under the trees in the park,” Ms Lowe says.

“We came back five hours later and they were still there, so I said … let’s go home and make soup for them.

“And, we’ve never looked back.”

Mr Lowe says that without Ms Lowe, he would not be living the life he is today.

“Bev is definitely the drive,” he says.

“Originally, I wasn’t that keen in working on the streets.

“I did however go along with Bev, which is wonderful because my life has been turned upside down.”

Today, they run a full kitchen of volunteers in a local church in Victoria Park, preparing a three-course meal for the homeless as part of their charity organisation, Manna Inc.

“I never thought our work would grow so big, especially into a well known charity, but it has through necessity,” says Ms Lowe.

“We feed over 55,000 men, women and children a year in Northbridge and the numbers are growing.

“Ninety-four per cent of those on the street have mental health issues and it’s not fair that people should be hungry because they’re ill.”

Over 200 volunteers rotate, to help the Lowes in the kitchen and by giving the food out in Northbridge.

Ms Lowe says that without the volunteers the organisation would not have been able to grow.

“The volunteers here are angels,” she says.

“They care about the people and they’re fully committed.

“Nobody is paid in Manna, so it’s purely a volunteer organisation.”

Manna Inc. volunteer, Sue-Elyn, has been part of the organisation for the past 18 months and says she is still inspired by everything the Lowes do to help the people of Perth.

“Bev and John are lovely people who have more energy in their little hands I think, than most of us have in our whole body,” she says.

“I’ve met some really wonderful people through the organisation and I think through that I’ve gained an enormous amount.”

The Lowes have also branched out into other services, including a school breakfast club, Winter school uniform program and providing children’s cooking facilities in primary schools.

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