As COVID reduced our working days to three per week at the beginning of the year, initially I was feeling bleak as we all were. The pandemic was insurmountable, and the lock down had everyone fearing the worse and planning for it.
However, as we all settled into 2020 and moved on, moved out of lock down and looked forward things became clearer. I knew I was in for a long year with the challenge of managing the team and keeping them motivated while working from home.
During this time, I also wanted to do something more than just navel gaze on my extra days off. I spent a lot of time looking for volunteer opportunities in my local community. It was a challenge as everyone out there with extra time was doing the same and those needing the help were inundated and overwhelmed not only by volunteers but by the needs of their community.
Eventually I found a spot volunteering at the Addi Road Food Pantry!
Once a week I ride my bike to the hall adjacent to the pantry where the food it stored. We start at 8am with packing of fruit and veggie bags. These consist of whatever has been donated so can include lemons, mandarins, onions, beans, potatoes, zucchinis. You never know what will be available on the day. We pack enough for the Marrickville Pantry and the new Camperdown Pantry up the road.
We then move to the dry good packing and it just reminds me of being onsite packing delegate satchels! We pack again what is needed for the day and these can be sent to other community centres, student bodies – whoever needs them.
It has been a difficult and challenging year for many but the humanity that is demonstrated when things get tough is heart-warming. Thanks to all those organisations in the community looking after the vulnerable and less fortunate.
With Christmas fast approaching we encourage everyone to embrace the Christmas spirit and do what you can for those around you. Big or small it all counts.
Written by Inge Meggitt, Operations Manager