Community & Environment |
Missing Persons Advocacy Network

Missing loved ones remembered this week with a single cup of coffee

EMBARGOED: Saturday 3 August 2019

Missing loved ones remembered this week with a single cup of coffee

Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) has partnered with cafes around the country for this year’s National Missing Persons Week (4–10 August) to raise awareness of the 38,000 Australians who go missing every year.

Cafés across the country will serve coffee in artist-designed biodegradable cups that feature eight Australians who have been missing for up to six years.

MPAN Founder and CEO Loren O’Keeffe said The Unmissables coffee cup campaign is a modern take on the well-known stark, grainy photos on milk cartons that often depict individuals as cases rather than people.

“We paired families of long-term missing Australians with authors and artists to capture the essence of the individual, rather than just stats on a poster.
“The cups are so beautiful and striking, you don’t realise right away it’s about a long term missing Australian. It’s a beautiful image of a person with a story,” said O’Keeffe.

Jayant Chitnis, a chef for Epicure based at the MCG, is the father of Melbourne-based Tej Chitnis who has been missing since 2016. He is passionate about keeping the story of his son front and centre.

The Campaign is kicking off this year at the MCG, where the stadium is set to stock 20,000 cups for Round 20 of the AFL on Saturday and Sunday, 3 and 4 August, where Richmond will play Melbourne and Collingwood will play the Suns.

Together with his wife Reva, Jayant says campaigns like this are so important to ensure loved ones are remembered as people, not just cases that flash across the news.

“When we saw his face on a poster, it really hit us. He was just a missing person. But for us, he’s not just one of them – he is our son. So it’s really important to us that he’s not forgotten.”

Tej went missing in April 2016 when he was supposed to meet his family for a special birthday dinner for his father. Members of the community conducted a large search aided by family and friends of the Chitnis family, none of which yielded any leads.

“Even after three years of not having any more information about Tej, we keep our hopes up thanks to the unwavering support from family, friends, the community and MPAN, for which we are eternally grateful.”

Building on the success of the charity’s ongoing The Unmissables initiative, O’Keeffe is passionate about educating the public on the impact of ambiguous loss, and how important it is for vulnerable individuals to reach out for help.

To find out more, visit www.mpan.com.au

ENDS/

About National Missing Persons Week

More than 38,000 missing people’s reports are submitted to police each year in Australia. Over 98 per cent of people reported missing are located, and almost all are found alive and well.

This National Missing Persons Week runs from August 4–10, and aims to raise awareness of those in Australia who are still missing, and the impacts on the family and community of missing people.

About the Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN)

Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) was established in 2013 by Loren O’Keeffe, whose brother Dan went missing in July 2011. MPAN creates awareness for missing Australians and offers practical support to their loved ones left behind.


Contacts:

If you would like to speak with MPAN Founder and CEO Loren O’Keeffe, or Jayant and Reva Chitnis, parents of Tej Chitnis, please contact:

Aaron Prestipino  Ali Morrow
+61 423 611 394  +61 401 849 249

Photos of Tej Chitnis are available here

Photos of this year’s The Unmissables coffee cups can be found here

Photos of the Chitnis Family at the MCG can be found here

Video footage of The Unmissables campaign can be found here

Media

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