By Bev Jordan
Volunteers at Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands are working through COVID lockdown to ensure that people in need can still access food and support services.
According to co-founder Linda Strickland, demand for emergency food relief has increased dramatically.
She said as an essential service Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands is continuing its food hamper pick up days and weekend meal services and may extend hours at its COVID-Safe venue in South Windsor. All volunteers are wearing masks and abiding by the 4m social distancing rule.
Meal services on Saturday and Sunday evenings at 6pm are now operating as takeaway services. Food Hamper pick-ups are on Wednesdays between 12pm and 3pm and Saturdays between 10am and 1pm.
On Wednesday (June 30) the service handed out over 130 food hampers to people in need.
“During last year’s lockdown, we didn’t close our doors, and we won’t again, we opened up many more days a week for hampers to meet the demand and will again if need be,” she said.
She estimates that the charity is feeding about 1,800 people a week with its various programs including food hampers, weekend dinners, school breakfast and lunch clubs. During the three -weeks of the floods, she said they distributed 5000 hampers.
“We were open seven days a week for 14 or 15 hours a day during the floods. The BBQ was going all the time and the kettle was always on the boil.”
Just days before the current lockdown hit the charity received a $20,000 donation from Wesley Uniting Church at Castle Hill.
Church member John Peberdy presented the cheque to Linda at the South Windsor depot (pictured) where she was being helped by volunteers Rex Thompson and Jackie Hallam who all became quite emotional.
John told them that the money had been raised by garage sales held at the Uniting Church on Showground Rd, Castle Hill.
$10,000 was donated to help flood victims and the rest was to help with other programs targeting the homeless and others in need.
Linda said: “It is going to make such a massive difference to so many people. It’s an amazing donation. It could not have come at a better time. It will enable us to give (flood victims) ongoing support for an extended period of time.”
At the moment, the depot is open to people needing help on certain days. hawkesbury Helping Hands
For Food Hampers: Wednesdays 12pm to 3 pm and Saturdays 10am to 1pm.
Meal Service Take-Aways: Saturdays and Sundays from 6 pm. hawkesbury Helping Hands
Linda said people affected by the Hawkesbury Floods still needing assistance outside of these hours should call and make an appointment. Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands depot is at 28 Walker Street, South Windsor. Call 4577 7077 to make an appointment. International students are also being helped.