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Fresh produce for Newcastle families most in need

When the coronavirus (COVID-19) surfaced in Australia, many Newcastle families who are supported by Wesley Mission, were worried about accessing enough food.

“They were anxious about where their food was coming from, as well as making those trips to the shops,” Amy explained, Wesley Child, Youth and Family Program Manager.

Despite their concerns, many families continued to use public transport for their food shopping trips as it was their only option.

“A lot of families don’t have access to a car, so that also meant taking their children on public transport,” Amy continued.

But thanks to the support of Wesley Child, Youth and Family Newcastle and a local fruit and vegetable company, these families now have the necessary food supplies they need.

“It’s helped alleviate their anxiety because they were anxious about where their food was coming from and about making those trips to the shops,” Amy said.

“It’s a gift and it eases the burden, and there’s nothing like fresh food being delivered to your door that makes you feel like it’s going to be okay.”

Amy reached out to a local family grocer who was looking to donate fresh produce to those most in need. Knowing the needs faced by people in Wesley Mission’s community, Amy and her team purchased further produce.

“They source the produce at cost price, so we paid $50 for hundreds of dollars’ worth of fruit and vegetables,” Amy said.

During their first round of drop-offs, 18 families received the food boxes and Wesley Child, Youth and Family team plan to deliver fresh produce to more families on a fortnightly basis.

Wesley Child, Youth and Family also purchased $8000 worth of iPads and laptops to support parents who are homeschooling their children and don’t have the necessary equipment to complete their lessons. They’ve also purchased dongles, giving families access to the internet so they can connect with loved ones online and enable children to access school resources.

A former teacher, one Wesley Child, Youth and Family staff member is offering her teaching skills to families, particularly those with language barriers who are struggling to support their children with school work.

Wesley Child, Youth and Family staff are also finding creative ways to connect with the families they support whether through chess over Zoom video chat, playgroups online or sending families chalk and art supplies.

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