As the festive season rushes towards us, it's crucial to recognise that many families grapple with food insecurity all year-round, and the holidays can intensify their challenges. The stress and burden of not having enough to eat can cast a shadow over what should be a time of celebration.
Our BaptistCare HopeStreet teams continue to welcome hundreds of individuals and families through our doors, providing them with wholesome meals and the essential support they need to put food on their own tables.
It was this time last year when Maxine and her daughter, Courtney, were welcomed to the HopeStreet table. They joined us for Christmas lunch as they didn’t have one of their own. In fact, the Christmas menu was served across four days to make sure everyone in need got to savour a cooked meal and experience the festivities.
Maxine and Courtney both live with intellectual disabilities, and our team has since witnessed the transformative power of nutritious food, social connection, and advocacy for their well-being.
Thanks to generous donors, in the past six months, BaptistCare HopeStreet has provided 3,067 meals, 482 food vouchers, and 1,672 emergency food packages to families and individuals in need.
The latest FoodBank Hunger Report revealed that 1.2 million households in NSW and the ACT experienced moderate to severe food insecurity in the past year.1
Maxine attests that access to food support has greatly benefited her and Courtney. They visit HopeStreet several times each week, enjoying the delicious, freshly cooked meals and the welcoming atmosphere.
Our HopeStreet teams are responding to the ongoing needs of individuals and families, providing hot meals, food vouchers, and emergency food packs as they navigate the rising cost of living. Our teams are also rallying on the ground to give the emotional support and community connection deeply necessary at this time of year.
While many experience a joyful and festive season with their loved ones, it can be an incredibly lonely and isolating time for those who lack the means to share a meal or the privilege of close relationships.
Courtney, in her twenties, speaks of the caring community that keeps her and her mum coming back to HopeStreet. It's a safe space where they can engage in conversation, connect with others, and pursue their interests.
Courtney uses our community computer to work on her TAFE assignments, where she studies Animal Studies, aligning with her special interest in cats. She emphasises the team's attentive listening and support, which has made a significant difference in their lives.
Courtney also shared how our team has been supporting her mum as her NDIS funding ran out and they are waiting for a review. Maxine said without this support, she would experience a great loss. “It would be hard for us. The staff are kind and caring, nice to get along with. HopeStreet makes it easier.”
As well as advocating with care providers, we have helped both Maxine and Courtney build their own capacity to understand and ask for their needs to be met. Courtney says our team really listens. “It feels really good to have someone to help me.”
We are witnessing a food security crisis unfold on the ground, and your support can make a tangible impact. Please help our teams provide food, inclusion and hope to families and individuals experiencing hunger and isolation this festive season.
*Images are for illustration purposes.