Dealing with the pandemic has brought a different demographic to the tables across all of our HopeStreet locations. People who weren’t struggling in the past are now sitting beside those who have been.
“People are finding it difficult to pay their mortgage and their bills. A lot of the new faces are just every-day people doing it tough, trying to stretch their dollar a little bit further,” said Dianne, Manager at HopeStreet in Port Kembla.
“It goes beyond food. It’s the kindness for people needing the basic necessities. It’s the ‘Hi, how are you? Are you doing okay? Can I help you with anything or do you need extra assistance?’” said Dianne.
For Lisa*, beyond a hearty meal, HopeStreet is the difference between living in pain and managing it. Our Port Kembla team were able to help her access prescriptions. “I was having a lot of trouble. I ran out of money for my medication. It was very scary. They gave me pharmacy vouchers to get the scripts. I’m so grateful for that community and support,” said Lisa.
Despite being restricted to just two people per table, Dianne says HopeStreet Port Kembla is busier than ever. “Normally if we hit 80 people it’s a really busy day. Last week we hit 80 twice and another day in the high 70s. It’s now our norm.”
“It’s a big increase, and a big demand – on our chef and on our volunteers. Our volunteers are vital. COVID-19 is a lot of work, it’s cleaning, it’s monitoring. We need people to help us connect.”
“We’re very much governed by the crisis that comes through the door. We are also very reliant on the community for donations. What we are given is what we can give away,” says Dianne.
As demand increases across all of our HopeStreet locations, so must the support for what we do. Visit hopestreet.org.au/donate to give every-day Australians food support and hope this Christmas.
*Names have been changed. Images are for illustration purposes.