Another end of day, only a trace of last bird call to see us into the evening. This place is a home to a lot of people, and a backstop to many more.
Right now, Addi Road is serving as a linchpin between the larger food relief organisations and a plethora of civil society groups, charity and community organisations. All of us making sure people across the inner west, the city, the east and the south west of Sydney have food on their table tonight.
We’re running 30 shifts a week, morning and afternoon, with over 260 volunteers giving their best to help pack food hamper boxes. Each one inspiring the other. A few of them say how much they love the work, how they feel less isolated, how their powerlessness has turned into something here that makes them stronger.
Along with all the charities and community groups, including many that have arisen like wild flowers to help the people they know, are our own team of volunteer drivers – packing their cars and heading off into the day to make contactless deliveries.
A few staff and volunteers are taking up to 300 phone calls a day, noting down the addresses and reassuring people that food is on the way. They hear all the stories. Some days they cry, with and for the people they talk to. Then they make sure the food gets delivered during the lockdown, a time when people can feel frightened, alone, without work, without money.
Back over at our hall, converted into a Food Relief Hub, the team at work hums on, packing and putting hamper boxes on to pallets each morning … the police are here from Burwood picking up boxes to help those they visit…. Deadly Connections have backed up a van to feed Indigenous families in the inner west… Lighthouse Community Support have a van here too to get food out to the south west where the lockdown is felt hardest…
More cars, more vans. A few thousand hampers this week, moving out and all over.
We try to to listen to what these different and very active groups tell us about what kind of food is needed, what is culturally appropriate. And what is going on on the hearts and minds of everyone. Not just the details, but how it really feels and what we might do better.
Six weeks into the lockdown – and a while yet to go. But we’re adapting to the changing virus and changing needs, and getting better at what we do after a solid year of this food relief work since the pandemic first began affecting our community.
It’s time to go home and eat and rest ourselves. Everyone will be back here, bright and early tomorrow, making the place sing in answer to the call of the city….
If you’d like to support Addi Road’s food relief work please go here to donate.