Sara*, an Eastlakes resident, came into our office this week asking for grocery support.

She has a four-month-old and a three-year-old and is struggling to put food on the table.

The rising costs of living, including electricity bills over winter, have left her depleted.

She just needed a few grocery items to get her through to the next week, as she’s struggling to buy even the basics such as Children’s Panadol and she’s too embarrassed to ask friends for a hand-up.

Food insecurity is a growing problem

Many low- to middle-income earners in Australia either experience food insecurity here and there – or on an ongoing basis.

According to a 2019 Monash University report, food shortages are caused by such things as:

• unexpected expenses;
• a change in working arrangements;
• illness or disability;
• increased housing costs; or
• changes in the number of people in the household.

Our heart for people

At South Eastern Community Connect we’re passionate about providing both practical and holistic support to people who are doing it tough.

Our support doesn’t end at a food parcel.

It begins with meeting an immediate need – such as food – and continues into our many services, which include:

Regular parenting courses such as Triple P and CPR training
• Youth services such as weekly tutoring and cooking groups
Flexible respite services for carers of people living with dementia
A Dementia Day Centre in Rushcutters Bay
Playgroups four days a week
Community transport services and social bus trips
Subsidised fruit and vegetable boxes for frail aged community members
Casework support for families in crisis.

The People’s Pantry is open

But you have to start at the beginning.

That’s why we’ve launched a campaign called The People’s Pantry, to provide much-needed supplies for people such as Sara who are facing food insecurity in our community.

This has been launched in response to a growing number of phone calls and visits to our offices requesting urgent food support in recent months.

The People’s Pantry is not just about providing for the community’s practical needs – but connecting people facing food insecurity with our other services.

If you would be willing to partner with us by providing donations of non-perishable goods over the next month, we would appreciate it greatly.

The campaign will finish on 30th September, but there are ongoing needs if you are able to partner with us in this way into the future.

All donors, with their permission, are thanked on our website and social media pages, so this is a way to not only support your community in a practical way, but receive recognition and exposure for your organisation in the local community.

If collecting and delivering the food is too difficult, we are also receiving donations at bit.ly/SECCdonations

Give Alison a call on (02) 8338 8506 if you’d like to discuss the food drive further or email her on commsmanager@secc.sydney.

Food drop-off points are:

• Shop 84, Eastlakes Shopping Centre (under Centre Management), Evans Ave, Eastlakes
• The SECC Community Hub – 1007 Botany Rd, Mascot (press the Community Hub buzzer and ask for Nicole)

These are our specific needs:

Week 1: We need cereals (WeetBix and Cornflakes) by Friday 13th September
Week 2: We need pasta, pasta sauce, canned baked beans and spaghetti by Friday 20th September
Week 3: We need long life full cream milk, canned veggies, canned fruit and canned tuna by Friday 27th September.

Thank you so much for being willing to express your love for your community in such a practical way.

* Name has been changed.

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