11 November 2022
A Foodbank program run by volunteers from a Melbourne parish has helped the church to build connections with those they may not otherwise get to meet.
Assistant minister at Epiphany Anglican Church the Reverend Trish Hunt said the Tuesday morning program, begun last year, helped about 40 attendees each week. But she said that number was not reflective of the true number of beneficiaries for each parcel.
“Each person who walks through the door represents a family of four,” Ms Hunt said.
She said though language was a barrier at times, they found ways to make communication work, and that the attendees looked out for one another’s needs.
“One of the highlights is meeting people from all different backgrounds,” Ms Hunt said.
“This has grown to be its own little community. They pretty much self-regulate. They know what they’re after, but they’re very respectful of each other. I think that’s the beautiful thing about it.”
She said those who came included a South Sudanese woman who had 10 children, a woman with multiple sclerosis and someone who had been a victim of severe domestic violence.
“These are the stories that you hear about, but we’re meeting these people face to face,” Ms Hunt said.
She said a man who often to the Foodbank program came had been injured at work, lost his job and faced marriage breakdown in a short period of time. She said the team had watched him grow more confident over time.
Ms Hunt said the team of eight volunteers had even run the program during the Melbourne Cup public holiday.
“It’s pretty amazing what people are helping out [with],” she said.