Donating our time
The arrival of COVID-19 has been a double-blow for Australia’s food relief sector. Against the backdrop of escalating demand for help, the sector’s volunteer workforce – largely older Australians for whom COVID-19 presents heightened risk – has quite literally disappeared overnight. So when our team was recently asked if we could help, we were quick to respond.
For more than five years, Sanitarium has supported the Bay Community Pantry as it provides food, care and connection to more than 50 families in the Lake Macquarie region, NSW. Like hundreds of community-run food pantries around the country, as COVID-19 hit, demand went up, volunteers went down, and distributing food to vulnerable individuals and families suddenly got much more difficult.
In 2019 alone, Pastor Sau Finau oversaw as the pantry served 250,000 meals in the local community, but social distancing meant they now they needed to offer take-home hampers instead of meal service. To quickly transition to this new model, they needed many hands to make light work of the hamper packing task that lay ahead.
Sanitarium’s team on the NSW Central Coast was keen to help. Many head office staff who had been working from home since early March, found great reward in being able to serve the community.
Tim Clarke, Shopper Strategy Manager (Category) said: “Days like today remind you to stay humble when others are in their time of need," he said. "Community groups like these play such a significant part in supporting making sure those families can feed their children and themselves. It was great to see other Sanitarium associates giving their time to support this cause.”
Kelly Thomas, Shopper Marketing Manager (Category) said: “It was fantastic to get out with the team and support such a great cause that provides much needed assistance to families during this challenging time.”
Hellen Tucker, Projects Manager (SDI), enjoyed the combination of contribution and connection. "...it felt great to be part of working with a team again, knowing that our efforts were going to help feed those less fortunate than ourselves," Helen said. "A very positive experience."
Pastor Finau said: “I’m incredibly grateful to the men and women from Sanitarium who came to pack the hampers. Thank you for helping us help others.”
Thank you Bay Community Pantry! We’re making a difference together.