More than 40 volunteers gathered at St Brigid’s parish in Marrickville recently to package snack bags for firefighters battling the megablaze north of Lithgow, in the Capertee Valley and the Gospers Mountain region around Wollemi National Park.
Nearly 500 packs including raisin bread, fresh apples, dried fruits and nuts, chocolate and electrolyte water were organised by Gift of Bread with donations from Maxwell Foods, Banana Joe’s FoodWorks in Marrickville and The Exodus Foundation.
The snack packs are a quick energy supplement for ﬁreﬁghters at times when fresh food is unavailable, such as at the commencement of operations before catering is established, during unplanned operations or longer duration ‘Remote Area Operations’. Each was each was accompanied by a ‘Thank You’ card to express gratitude to the ﬁreﬁghters.
Gift of Bread founder Marcel De Maria and volunteers along with Sr Elena Daton CP, pastoral associate from the Passionist Community at St Brigid’s, then drove up to Glen Alice to deliver the snacks to the rural ﬁre station there.
Mr De Maria said the brave ﬁreﬁghters are Australia’s everyday heroes. “There are there to put the ﬁres out, to save our homes and save our lives, to make us feel safe and bring us hope,” he said.
“We think they are awesome. That is what true mates are made of.”
Director Valerian Rego, who brought his family to help out on the day, said it was “emotionally rewarding” to see so many volunteers do the same and bringing their family and friends. Volunteers Stella and Ruby, students at St Scholastica’s College in Glebe, said they were deeply pleased to see the amount of support pouring in from the community.
“It is very sad to see the ﬁres destroying our homes and forests,” said Stella. “So many lives have been lost and animals burnt to death. There are a lot of people wanting to help. Gift of Bread is doing something special for the ﬁreﬁghters and we all want to say a big thank you to them.”
The local food rescue organisation collects donations from 30 bakeries and other businesses across the city and distributes it to people in need each day.
Volunteers manage the six outreach centres, with the other at St Augustine’s Balmain, St Mary’s, Erskineville, Maternal Heart of Mary, Lewisham and Sacred Heart, Mosman and St Mary’s Concord.