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