SOUL SISTERS SHINE ON
Twin sisters dedicated to helping others in the Rockingham community have been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for their work.
Eileen Giles and Patricia Powell are co-founders and managers of Servants of United Love, or SOUL.
First formed in 2008, SOUL aims to help those in dire situations get back on their feet.
Mrs Giles said SOUL started out as a soup patrol for people who were homeless or struggling, but it had quickly grown to help people in other ways as well.
“We stop at six different locations twice a week, on a Sunday and a Thursday and have been since we started,” she said.
“Our first stop is in Shoalwater and we go right out to the edge of Baldivis, it takes a couple of hours to do the run.
“It took about six months for people to trust us but after that we started to get more and more people visit each time.
“We now have about 60 people coming along on Thursday and 80 on Sunday.”
Mrs Giles said they also put together care packages for people who could not afford to buy food after paying rent or bills.
SOUL has expanded from a soup patrol to branches such as Village Women, SOUL Care and SOUL Inc Charity Shop.
SOUL Care provides support for women who are pregnant and homeless and Village Women helps teach valuable life skills.
Mrs Powell said providing pregnant women with accommodation was vital in helping them bond with their children.
“We found mums sometimes did not have appropriate accommodation as well as other factors and that is really sad,” she said.
“They do not get to take their babies home from hospital straight away and those first few months are crucial for the bonding.
“We have created transitional accommodation and then once they are ready to move on, we have three one-bedroom units we can move them to so they can get a rental history and then move to a private rental.”
Both women thanked the community and the 100 volunteers at SOUL for their hard work.
“People are just very generous and we feel like the Order of Australia medal is an award for all our volunteers and for so many others who have supported us over the years,” Mrs Giles said.
“Our brother received the same award several years ago and we were so happy for him, but we were really surprised and were not expecting to win it at all.”
Mrs Powell said they both felt blessed, not only to win the medal but to be doing the work as well.
“The work we do is for God and it is a privilege to serve and to see everyone come together to do the same,” she said.
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