Wagga charity vandalised ahead of October launch

Charity call: Angels Wagga Wagga's team leader, Andria Howard, helping the city's homeless, was left  "devastated" after the charity's new premises was vandalised.

Charity call: Angels Wagga Wagga's team leader, Andria Howard, helping the city's homeless, was left "devastated" after the charity's new premises was vandalised.

A Wagga charity determined to help poverty-stricken residents, suffered a devastating blow, following a heartless act of vandalism this week. 

Families on Ziegler Avenue awoke to the sound of smashed glass on Wednesday night, as Angels Wagga Wagga’s – Angels for the Forgotten – new home was attacked. 

The donation-funded community hub intends to launch in October, supporting the scores of famlies in need across the city. 

The launch will follow a harrowing reveal in August, exposing an approximate 1500 people in the Riverina, wrestling with homelessness, according to the St Vincent de Paul Society.

In addition to a long-list of services, the new hub will provide access to a food bank and crisis support, hosting a breakfast club for children and giving students a safe space to do their homework.  

When the Angels Wagga outgrew its Baylis Street residence in 2016, it looked to move elsewhere. But two weeks after the big move, it was vandalised.  

Team leader Andria Howard said instead of putting money towards setting up shop, they would now have to fork out funds for replacement glass and security screens.

“It wont be cheap,” Ms Howard said. “I know that much.”

Ms Howard said the heartless attack was “devastating”.

While fundraisers, donations and sponsorship have helped the charity to get off the ground, she said a lot of money had come from her own pocket and her team’s. 

“You think you’re doing a good thing to help,” she said. “Then you get people who come and destroy it.”

The Wagga woman said she knew what it was like to struggle financially.

Now working at a supermarket part-time, she said she saw the pain of others, living in poverty daily. 

“(Families) come through the check out and have to take things out of their bags,” Ms Howard said. “They say: ‘I can’t afford it’.”

It is the reason Ms Howard jumped on board the charity when it launched in 2010. 

Angels for the Forgotten are now asking for donations, business sponsorship and volunteers, in a bid to keep its launch date.

Wagga police inspector Maggie Deall labelled the act “disgraceful” and unacceptable, urging anyone with information to contact the station or to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.