Food Services Volunteer since 2013.
I have been packing produce boxes for community food services since 2013. It is a volunteer role that suits me perfectly, because I work from home in an office environment, and I love the opportunity to get out and do physical work.
We volunteer every Tuesday and Thursday, packing fresh produce for more than 100 clients a week. Over the past 12 months our team has donated over 750 hours to pack more than 5,000 fruit and veg boxes.
I first started in Redfern for the Food Distribution Network, FDN, and I really enjoyed the role. When FDN moved to Botany, some of the other volunteers were not able to make it there. I live in the Inner West and it is a longer journey for me as well, but I have a car, so I thought I’ll give it a go. When SECC took over it was only a short distance move to Eastlakes, and most of us volunteers came along. I am glad I stayed on.
Comradery and Interaction
We have less room here to pack and perhaps a bit less time, but I still enjoy it just the same. I love the comradery and the interaction with the other volunteers. Every now and again we have new people joining us, and those who like me enjoy the physical work and a great team find this a rewarding volunteering opportunity.
We start at about 8:15 by setting up all the boxes. We then go to the fruit market and collect the produce. Some of us will start cutting, weighing and wrapping while the rest of us start packing. All up it takes us between two and three hours.
Caring for the environment
I hate seeing food go to waste, but there are often items that are unsuitable to give to our clients. SECC’s new Food Services Manager, Linda Castellizzi, is very environmentally minded and is implementing ways for us to reduce waste. Any fruit and veg that is not good enough o go into the client’s box gets taken to SECC’s outside of school hours care at Gardeners Road Public School to feed the chickens.
By changing how she orders the produce, Linda has also been able to cut back on plastic packaging, which is great.
Once packed, the boxes then get loaded onto the SECC truck and delivered to elderly clients and clients living with disability. The trucks deliver up to 140 boxes a week to our clients’ doors all across Sydney from the Eastern suburbs as far as Marrickville.