Mondo Community Warriors stand proud for Lifeline and other charities

Vince Garreffa - Mondo Community Warriors

Every night across Perth troubled people contact Lifeline Australia for advice and guidance to help them in tough times.

For many years, local charity Mondo Community Warriors has worked hard fundraising for this vital service.

Mondo Community Warriors allocates its funds to charities who work with the disadvantaged, at risk and deserving individuals.

This is achieved through a network of 31 charities, agencies and programs that reach a target population including homeless shelters, women’s refuges, youth crisis accommodation centres, drug and alcohol crisis centres, struggling families, the aged community and WA Hospitality Youth.

Seventy five per cent of Mondo Community Warrior’s funds raised goes to Lifeline which gives access to crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services.

Somewhere in Australia there is a new call to Lifeline every minute.

Lifeline also provides national services and campaigns that promote emotional wellbeing, encourage help seeking and address suicide prevention and awareness.

“Mondo Community Warriors uses food and hospitality to raise money for worthy causes,” says celebrated Perth butcher and cook Vince Garreffa who describes himself as the loud face of the foundation.

Other members include founder, director and ambassador Michael Tamburri who has a long history of being involved in many prominent Perth charity events including Lifeline Australia and 6PR sleepout and Stephan Jenner, whose extensive organisational and management skills bring expertise to the foundation.

Stephan’s other passion is food and in 2011 he was crowned WA Tongmaster in a barbecue cook-off run by Meat and Livestock Australia.

Mondo Community Warriors is a non-denominational, not-for-profit, income-tax exempt charity.

“We don’t employ anybody and there are no overheads,” says Mr Garreffa. “None of us claim our costs so 100 per cent of the money we raise goes to the cause. We run a function with the sole purpose to raise money for worthy causes.”

Mondo Community Warriors was established as a registered charity about eight years ago (Vince and wife Anne have worked for charity for more than 30 years). Well known Perth personality Graham Mabury came on board as patron which has proved extremely successful.

“Graham has a big following in WA and for him we have set the bar high, people trust us and what we do, we have done a good job,” Mr Garreffa said. “We are always looking for volunteers and helpers. We have six to 12 events a year which involve lots of planning and hard work by people for free. Hundreds of thousands have been raised but it’s still not enough.”

In March, Vince and Anne and Mondo Community Warriors raised a total of $452,000 at this year’s The Aspinall Family Brunch for Lifeline WA Branch, (held in Vince’s backyard) taking the total since its inception in 1996 to $3 million.  The brunch brought together hundreds of people for the special occasion.

The Smokin’ charity barbecue competitions raise more than $10,000 each event. Smokin’ on the Water will be held at Bayswater 3-4 November and Smokin’ in the City 27-28 April next year. The Smokin’ Barbecue and Chilli Festival was held in Mandurah last February.

Other Mondo fundraising events during the year include the International Butchers’ Picnic which brings together young apprentice butchers from around the world to compete in Australia’s only cutting and cooking competition.

Mr Garreffa, who struggled with mental health in his younger years and lost a good friend to suicide, says that running the event and raising money for suicide prevention and other smaller charities was very important to him.

“There’s nothing better than food, hospitality and generosity,” he said. “We raised $4000 at our first backyard event in 1996, enough to train one telephone crisis support volunteer, so it’s just amazing that we have now raised $452,000 for such an important cause.”

Lifeline WA chief executive officer Lorna MacGregor says the Lifeline WA brunch was an inspiring example of how the community can work together to support an important cause.

“The sense of community, fun and food presented at the annual brunch is comparable to nowhere else in Australia.”

Food, competition, camaraderie with the goal of helping others, Mondo Community Warriors is an inspiration.  People needing help should contact Lifeline 13 11 14 available 24/7.