A chance conversation, the efforts and skills of Greenwood Conference members, a network of community support and the reach of social media was all that was needed to help meet the needs of the community during COVID-19.
Covering areas in the northern suburbs of Perth, Greenwood Conference regularly delivers food hampers to many clients experiencing hardship in the community. Earlier in the year, their usually well-stocked pantry was slowly being depleted due to demand.
When the impact of COVID-19 began, restrictions to food supplies meant that replenishing the pantry was becoming a challenge. One suggestion put forward was to hold a car boot food appeal whereby people could drop off donated food items. Conference members soon realised that this idea could be something that was easily achievable and set about initially promoting it through the local Catholic Primary School and Parish community. The message gathered momentum and spread further afield through emails to friends, and through social media to neighbouring community groups. What Conference members and volunteers were then greeted with on the two Saturday mornings collections, was more than 245 cars filled with boot loads of food and pantry donations.
Unsure how the venture might go, Allan Rose, Joondalup/Wanneroo Regional Council President said he was amazed by the response.
“The generosity from people with their donations was quite incredible considering we had only promoted it for such a short time and due to government restrictions in place such as social distancing. But people showed such wonderful community spirit by being able to contribute and to be involved in such a worthy cause.”
In just over two weeks, the organisation, promotion and execution of the car boot food appeal by Greenwood Conference members resulted in a replenished pantry which is vitally important for food relief for families during the pandemic. The community response to the appeal was also outstanding because many of the donors were they themselves affected by the economic effects from COVID-19.
“Vinnies has a very good reputation of helping so the trick is to get the message out to the community because the community really does want to help,” said Allan. With the success from Greenwood Conference’s car boot food appeal, two other conferences, Woodvale and Wanneroo also adopted the idea and several weeks later ran equally successful collections.
♦ Deanna Watson is Communication and Content Developer St Vincent de Paul Society in WA.