Reg Lambert has no intention of retiring anytime soon, but he has put the call out to the Mandurah community for the next generation of volunteers willing to step up to help the homeless.
The 93-year-old, who has spent the last 30 years delivering emotional support and vital supplies to people sleeping rough, said he needs people to help on the streets for a night a week but also space to store the donations flooding in.
Mr Lambert’s garage at home is filling up with donated blankets and goods and since his birthday – when friends and the community gave him supplies for the homeless instead of presents – he’s running out of room.
“What I’m doing now is raising awareness, people send me the stuff, I do the sorting out and putting them into bags and then go out and deliver them to people,” he said.
“I want to break that down so people will think, ‘well, it’s easy’.
“It’s two or three people, just somewhere to store and sort the stuff and someone who’ll go out and deliver it on the street.”
Mr Lambert said he wanted to spend more time working on the causes of homelessness as well as out on the streets dealing with its effects.
“The homeless will always be with us,” he said.
“No act of parliament or magic strike from the skies will actually change this.
“We’ll still be having to face those who are on the street, those who are not able to do as well as we are.”
He said sometimes the solution to homelessness is not as complex as governments believe.
“Earlier this year I saw a fellow lurching along the foreshore, he was 44 years of age I found out afterwards, reasonably dressed and I said to him, ‘Here, mate, we better find somewhere to sit down’, otherwise he was going to fall down, crumple up and do himself some damage,” Mr Lambert said.
“He said, ‘Before I do’ – and he was poking me in the chest – he said, ‘before I do, I want you to give me a hug’.
“Well, I let go first and he was still hanging on, but he said, ‘That was the first hug I’ve ever had in my life’.”
Mr Lambert said the man had turned around his life and now had a job and a girlfriend.
Those interesting in helping Mr Lambert are urged to contact his through PeelConnect's Facebook page.