Marcel pulls up in his Gift Of Bread van out the front of Addi Road Food Pantry Marrickville. The slogan on the side says it all – humorous, spirited, full of intention:
“Who gives a loaf? We do…”
He founded Gift of Bread seventeen years ago. He now reckons the charity feeds something like 26,500 people a day through the outlets and partners they support. “The Salvos, Oz Harvest, all of them.”
Marcel makes it a personal interaction as he drives around doing pick-ups and deliveries. The link with Addi Road and supplying its two food pantries in Marrickville and Camperdown is especially important to him. Direct, real, necessary. The street level stuff that got got him started and that still inspires him.
He sees more and more people struggling everywhere. There’s a lot of need out in the western suburbs, he reckons. People are battling big-time with mortgages and out-of-control rents. “What’s the first thing to go when you can’t keep up with the payments, but you have to keep a roof over your head? It’s food.”
Marcel says the idea of helping people by supplying them with surplus bread that is rescued or donated came to him through “an epiphany. It’s a long story.” And he does not really want to go into today. He has more deliveries to do. More bread to share. Refuges, boarding houses, nursing homes. All kinds of places and people.
“Bread,” he says, “it’s a meal for you – and for your kids if you have them. Just put something between two slices and it will get you through the day.”
We get to work helping Marcel unload his van. This week we will likewise feed thousands of people. Visits by figures like Marcel energise us and affirm the purpose behind what we do. Or, as Marcel says, “Together we’re extending the idea of what community can truly mean.”
“This is not about just feeding people. It’s about respecting them.” Marcel makes a fist as he speaks and holds it to his chest like his heart is radiating there to see. “Bread. It’s an essential thing, but it symbolises so much more about us.”
Main image: Addi Road Food Pantry driver Mark and Gift of Bread’s Marcel share the love. Photo by Mark Mordue.
You can donate to Addi Road’s food justice programs through our website….