By Ashleigh Green
The first week of summer holidays usually invokes images of lazy mornings and beach afternoons. But for 40 Sydney school students, their first day of school holidays was spent packing fresh food hampers for families in need.
Harris Farm Markets provided the fresh produce at cost price, which was delivered to the Belmore Warehouse early on Monday morning for packing.
The sweaty faces didn’t stop the smiles as apples and bananas made their way down the production line into beautifully packaged boxes. By early afternoon, delivery drivers were ready to brighten the Christmas’ of over 300 families across Sydney with a wholesome Gift of Goodness.
For four students at Domremy College Five Dock, they were inspired to volunteer following a social justice expo at their school. The expo opened their eyes to justice issues locally and internationally, and they were excited about CatholicCare’s opportunity to give back.
Nora Moya, Year 10 student at St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove first heard about the opportunity to volunteer through her Youth Ministry Coordinator.
“I decided to volunteer as I am really passionate about helping others especially beyond the school walls. At the end of the day, I felt very happy, grateful, connected to others and I felt a natural sense of accomplishment and value. I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I could make others happy and bring joy into their lives.”
Other volunteers came from Santa Sabina College Strathfield, St Patrick’s College Strathfield, Bethany College, St Aloysius College, Catholic Church Insurance and Catholic Super.
Justin Donnelly, who spent the afternoon delivering the fresh food hampers, was touched by the gratitude shown by the recipients.
“To see the smiles made it all worth it. Many of the people we visited clearly had some challenges in their life. Some were caring for children with a disability; others were trying to create a new life for themselves in Australia. We wished them a Merry Christmas and showed them that there are people out there who care about them.”
Funds for the 300 fresh food hampers were raised by Sydney Catholic School students throughout Term Four. As a joint initiative of Sydney Catholic Schools and CatholicCare Sydney, the campaign saw many mufti days, bake sales and crazy sock days generate funds. Donations were also made online by parents and other members of each school community.
It is not too late to donate. Excess funds raised through the campaign will go towards vital CatholicCare services that support the most disadvantaged families in Sydney.
To make your online donation, visit www.giftofgoodness.com.au