Tuesday 28 February 2017
Thank you to Chris, Damen, Peterese, Fred, Rachel, Sharon, Guy, Janet and the Coast Alive Christian Outreach Centre in Charmhaven for their outstanding contribution to our community on the Central Coast.
Every Thursday these dedicated volunteers run the Foodcare service, which provides groceries, food hampers and a listening ear to local people in need. They are generously supported by local businessesthe Bakehouse Cafe in Gorokan and Lakehaven Woolworths, which donate bread and baked goods. Food is purchased at a reduced price from the Foodbank in Sydney and the result is a well-stocked shop that serves an average of 30 to 40 customers each week and has helped countless Central Coast families in need.
When I visited the team last Thursday, I met Shane and Danielle, whose rental home of 14 years was destroyed in the storm that hit Sydney and the Central Coast on 17 February. The roof was blown completely off their house, damaging the inside and outside of their home, their car and their furnitureall ruined. When I met them, Shane, Danielle and their young daughter were in emergency accommodation and desperately looking for a new home. They arrived at Foodcare shocked and exhausted, and were grateful for the support and care they received. I was so relieved to hear yesterday that the family are now moving into a new home on the coast.
I also met Jane, who recently moved to the Central Coast from Armidale. After a period of homelessness she has now found a home to rent, but finding $410 in rent each week for a four-bedroom home to sleep six, as well as childcare fees and the cost-of-living expenses that come with being mum to a 15-year-old, a six-year-old, a five-year-old and a three-year-old is really tough.
This is the difference that Foodcare makes for so many families facing urgent or long-term hardship. Help is there to make ends meet. Damen, who is now a Foodcare team volunteer, was once in that position himself. After suffering a motorbike accident that prevented him from working, Foodcare provided the assistance he and Peterese needed to get them through. They are now an integral part of the service that helped them, and are giving back to our community each and every week.
Volunteers at Foodcare devote between two to three days a week to order and collect stock, to pack and fill shelves and, of course, to open the shop for service once a week. As with most volunteers, they ask for very little in return. There are many volunteers in our community, and the work that they do is so valuable. The Salvation Army Oasis Youth Centre in Wyong is another place that offers a similar service. They are the true unsung heroes of our community.
I thank the Foodcare team for all they do in helping Central Coast families in need.