Carevan kicked off 2021 with our first evening get together for the year on Tuesday this week, welcoming back many of our regular family; guests, volunteers and amazing community members, at the Lalor Park Community centre, all masked up and COVID safe and back to service for another year.
We served up delicious meals kindly donated to Carevan by OzHArvest, through a joint venture with the Tyndale Christian school, as well as our regular lovely meals from Norwest and two scrumptious Fritattas made from the eggs of our feathered friends, the chooks at Merryn, Brenda, Piper and MacKenzie’s place.
OzHarvest is an amazing and inspirational organisation and it was such a pleasure (not to mention great luck!) to have had this opportunity to be associated with them. Thank you, Shannon, Dahnu and Talez and the whole OzHArvest group for your amazing work in the community at large and for our Tuesday evening meals, helping us put together our first service for the year…
And huge thanks to Tyndale’s team for nominating Carevan as the recipient of this donation
As always, our own Kitchen queens Kimbalee, Kym and Tracey were hard at work heating, serving and coordinating meals and dessert donated by Hunter Hampers, while our amazing volunteers, Joel, Jade, Kendall, Bruce and Andrew got busy with hall set up, packing up hampers with the goodies from Foodbank … And big Thanks too, to Shahereen, visiting us for the first time to bestow upon us a generous donation, we set her to work, putting her through her paces but still smiling at the end.
And kicking off with HUGE community support and care, our enormous THANKS to the generous community STARS Amy, Kerry, Vic, Daniel and Tina who arrived with donations of clothing, toys, school and hygiene supplies, takeaway containers and much more for the community donation tables… such support is the backbone of our service and we can’t thank you all enough.
A special delivery too of chocolatey goodness by way of a bulk donation of MILO in a very BIG bag and loads of teeny tiny hot chocolate marshmallows from the Blacktown Kildare Masonic Lodge… THANK YOU
…and to Glaiza for her unending generosity and quiet support through the Christmas break… xx
We will hold a Volunteer training evening in Mid-February for anyone interested in volunteering with us on a Tuesday evening. Details will be posted once the date is confirmed.
Or if you are interested in helping out with our food pick-ups rather than the evening meal services, please get in touch with us on 0427 457 030 or email [email protected] we’d love to chat with you
Thanks to you all … Happiness and health to all for the new Carevan year
Carevan Blacktown’s Christmas celebrations are done and dusted for another year. Always our busiest and ‘buzziest’ night of the year and 2020 was no exception.
We served large numbers, around 150 people, well in excess of previous years and brought tinselled happiness and some of Santa’s magic to end this challenging year by way of a scrummy meal, food parcels and Chrissy Hampers, gifts and hygiene and care packages, to add a little pizazz to the Christmas Season and sprinkle some sparkle around the community.
We cannot begin, well we can actually but we may not finish, to express our enormous gratitude and try to offer up adequate THANKS to our generous and exceptionally kind community. YOU have ensured that the community Carevan serves on your behalf, has had a very Bountiful and Merry Christmas season…
Heavenly THANKS to the angels and big-hearted community members who offered time, donations and feet on the ground, hands to put together hampers, wrap presents, serve food and endless cups of tea and yet more kindly souls to hand out those hampers, food and care packs, set up and wait tables and try (successfully, we think) to instil some of Christmas’s special vibe, into each and every interaction.
These wonderful members of the community and honorary Carevan volunteers, included a handful of children and their lovely parents, decorating trees, laying tables and hanging lights, tidying up, making up hampers and being generally amazing. They worked tirelessly and constantly throughout a long day, with the sort of tenacity that as the song lyrics go, were ‘making spirits bright’ Children it’s said, make Christmas special and these kids put in as much as anyone got out of our celebrations! THANKS Breanna, Taylor, James, Wayne, Melody and Dale!
THANKS to the various Carevan volunteers past and present, regular friends and supporters, who also popped in and out throughout the day to pack hampers and prepare and serve the meals. THANKS Dave and Rachel, Bill and Eileen, both Natalies, Daniel, Tracey, Jade and Taz, James, Paul, Karen, Annie, Matthew, Alison, Colin, Linh, Annie and Stewart, Michael, Lliam, Karenza, Joel, Cameron… You are an awesome army of care and compassion and we are blessed to have such a team.
Thanks to Blanket Patrol Western Sydney, Carevan’s buddies and an awesome team in their own right, who joined us to take care of the clothing and special items of love and warmth .. Lissa, Pat and Hezekiah … you are the Christmas Spirit of giving its very self.
Tremendous THANKS to Mayor Tony Bleasdale and Deputy Mayor, Julie Griffiths, who took time out of very busy seasonal schedules to come and have a chat, make a cuppa and hand out hampers to members of their happy and grateful community.
THANKS to all the organisations and individuals who generously provided tinned food, treats, hygiene and pantry items and gifts galore for the hampers; the Blacktown Sai Centre, Kellyville High school, the Kings Langley Scout Group, Blacktown Workers Club, Foodbank, Hunter Hampers, Share the Dignity, Jeni Simmons and friends, and the many other individuals who reached out to us to donate gifts and goods for Christmas time.
Thanks to Marlene and Glenda, Vic and Daniel’s neighbourhood locals for filling Santa’s sack and his sleigh to the brim with toys for children of all ages … and to Katie and Ellen for wrapping presents galore!
Thanks to Robyn and Garry, to Merryn and Brenda and to the committee members for the Christmas fare with all the trimmings… Delicious trifle and a 4.2kg Xmas Pudding… not to mention the committee members kitchen wizardry in producing a meal fit for Queens and Kings of Lalor Park.
THANKS also for last-minute orders filled for chicken and extra Veg from our Xmas superstar ‘Lizzie Chicken’
Thanks to incredibly supportive Blacktown Council for use of the hall. Access to this great facility meant we were able to ‘deck the hall’ with lights and tinsel and could set up our first ever pretty Christma
s tree. Big glittery THANKS to all the little hands that decorated that tree and placed presents for all the children, at its feet.
Community Christmas tables spilled out into the evening light with tables indoors and out, creating a lovely community meal together, social connection and good food in a COVID safe environment, with table service to add a special Christmas touch of dignity
Thanks to our committee; Kym, Kimbalee, Taylor and Lynne for the tireless work behind the scenes and to the fluoro Green army who serve throughout the year and step up especially at Christmas to bring the year to a festive close ….
And huge cookies and cream love to our very own Santa, Bruce … a gentle man who is ‘Santa’ all year long with or without the suit… and his lovely other ½ Lyn, who kindly lends him to us each week
The evening was a resounding collaborative success and we are honoured to have been able to create such an event on the community’s behalf and because of its generosity.
Lastly but not ‘leastly’ this feast was followed a few days later by Christmas morning BBQ for some 30-40 guests. Always a popular event, we added a little more Christmas love, supported by the fabulous Pamela Rope and her colleagues and friends, who donate breaky items towards BBQ deliciousness, bread rolls and Christmas cakes. More hampers, cuppas and a laid-back lovely morning to see out the Carevan Christmas season … for many, this is the extent of their Christmas day and it’s a joy to be able to add a dash of community care and companionship… a perfect ending. Blue Year in Review Christmas Card-3
Carevan’s fluoro elves are all ‘santa’d’ out for another year and we are happy Carevanites. Readying ourselves for 2021, when hopefully the new ‘norm’ is a relaxed, happy and healthy one which, will see us reunited with friends and family… but in the meantime, THANKS for your love and extraordinary care for the Carevan Family and those we serve.
We’ve added some photos, loads were taken but we’re mindful of folks privacy and dignity … but you can see glimpse from our gorgeously happy volunteer photos and pics, that this was a fab season, despite the trials and tribulations. Our care for each other and those most in need is not diminished by a tricky year but rather amplified .. ‘twas the season for it after all
OH… and THANKS to our amazing CEO Andrew, a rock and a rock star and a logistics master … who did more picking up, lifting, packing and general Carevan sleigh guiding than Rudolf himself … THANK YOU
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year .. and see you in it
Wow – what a year and it’s not quite finished. We started 2020 in the midst of Australia’s biggest drought and bush fire season recorded in recent history. Our Lalor Park family turned up amidst these trying times and we saw record numbers of new guests as the tough times were impacting us all.
In March we started to hear lots about the Coronavirus, we continued to go out and provide meals, groceries and clothing to our Lalor Park family. We saw numbers grow, including record numbers in the 2nd week of March. This was likely due to more and more people losing their work and struggling to provide for themselves and their families.
In April, as you all know, the NSW government introduced strict social distancing regulations but try as we might, it became impossible for us in an outdoor setting, to provide a COVID-19 safe environment. We made the toughest decision then, of our 9 year history, to withdraw our services until the COVID-19 restrictions eased.
We used this time productively though to work out a way in which we could deliver our service while providing the safest possible environment once government restrictions eased. We worked with the Blacktown Council and through their generosity, we were provided with free access to the Lalor Park Community Hall.
The committee worked on ways we could create an environment that allowed for the COVID safe requirements such as social distancing, hand sanitizing stations, maintaining a safe and warm environment so that, when the government restrictions were eased, we were able to return. It had been 9 weeks since we were last out and it was wonderful to be back.
The first night of our return we had 24 guests and this number has steadily increased to a weekly average of 64 guests. We still offer blankets, clothing, hot meals, groceries and have added haircuts to our list of services.
Whilst we watch the current Northern Beaches outbreak very closely, we will continue to ensure that we follow all government guidelines and regulations to ensure we do not compromise the safety of our volunteers, supporters and the Lalor Park community.
My huge thanks to all of our volunteers and supporters who have rallied around us to enable Carevan to continue to provide our service and to making a difference in the Lalor Park community.
Our Christmas Week
Carevan’s busiest week of the year is Christmas and this year, COVID-19 restrictions permitted, we are expecting record number of guests at Tuesday the 22nd of December’s Christmas dinner at the Lalor Park hall.
To comply with the restrictions, we will ensure that all our guests are seated for the meal service at both internal and external seating, we will have COVID-19 marshals, and we will segregate the hamper handing ceremony to ensure social distancing and as with every week, gloves and masks are available as required or desire.
We have lots of extra support this year including the Blacktown Workers Club and special thanks also to our regular supporters for increased care and contributions at this time of year, Foodbank, Roshni at the Blacktown Sai centre, Jeni Simmons, Marlene and Glenda, The Kings Langley Scout Group and Donna from Hunter Hampers.
Receiving a wonderful donation of Xmas hampers from Roshni Naidu and the Blacktown Sai Centre
We will also be providing a breakfast service BBQ on Christmas day commencing at 9am. The regular breakfast including, bacon, sausages and eggs will be provided. A huge thanks to Pamela Rope and the team from Aldi, for providing us with the generous donation of breakfast items, without which we could not go out on Christmas morning.
Any volunteers wanting to help on this morning will be welcomed. This breaky service will be held in the carpark, rather than the hall and we will be there from 0900-1100
Since returning after the COVID closure, we have received several generous donations from our supporters. The Blacktown Kildare Masonic Club have once again chosen Carevan as their local charity to support and we cannot thank them enough.
The Club and its kind members will never know how much their generous donation helps to keep us going. Without their support it would be incredibly difficult for Carevan to do what we do and we are grateful for their ongoing support, care and contribution.
We were also successful in applying for a grant through the Commonwealth Bank’s Community “SmartyGrants” program. One of our volunteers, Michael Harvey, an employee of the Commonwealth Bank, directed us to the grant process. This grant has been absolutely essential in enabling us to buy items such as food for Norwest and Tyndale Christian school’s Carevan cooking program, along with other running expenses and consumables, such as plates, take away containers, milk and coffee etc.
Carevan was also the recipient of a grant from the Blacktown Workers Club. This generous donation is entirely directed towards weekly food and pantry supplies from Foodbank, from which we put together the week’s hampers and with which Kym, Kimbalee and Tracey make meals to supplement and add to meals from Norwest.
Deputy Mayor, Julie Griffiths, continues to show us tremendous support and provided a generous donation to Carevan through the Blacktown Council, to assist with providing food and gifts for the special Christmas hampers for our two Christmas events as above.
We have been blessed over this difficult year with ongoing care from our regular supporters in their continued contributions. Genworth Financial Services and the Rotary clubs of Rosehill and Roseville/ Chatswood are long term supporters while Glaiza Huynh, of Dearest Lips, continues to donate a percentage of all her sales to Carevan.
Carevan are also indirect beneficiaries of a second donation for 2020 of $500 from Daily Fresh towards the Norwest Cooking program, supporting the school’s own contribution to Carevan.
Donna Hunter of Hunter Hampers, donates food every week to our meal services and Lissa and Pat of Blanket Patrol Western Sydney, come out every 2nd week, with clothing and blankets that the Lalor Park community love.
Our Committee & Volunteers.
I can’t begin to tell you the work that the wonderful Carevan Committee and volunteers do to ensure that we go out every week. Every week Kym Corless and Tracy Priestly go to Foodbank in their lunch break and pick up food for our hampers. On most Tuesdays the two Ky(i)m’s cook food to be taken out (this is after their day jobs) There are pick-ups each week from Hunter Hampers, of food for hampers as well, along with desserts and fortnightly collection from Roshni’s, of pantry and other goods. Daniel brings clothing every week that he collects from people in his street.
Your current committee members are Lynne Wood, Kym Corless, Kimbalee Apps, Taylor Kew, Caroline Del Aguila and Andrew Scott.
We have been fortunate to be given an opportunity to host the Bunnings BBQ at Rouse Hill Bunnings on Saturday the 2ndof January. We will be looking for volunteers so anyone who can help out for a few hours would be welcomed. This is key opportunity for us raising funds. If you can help, please let one of the committee members know. Green Carevan shirts should be worn on the day.
There are so many supporters that we would like to thank for helping us make a difference to our Lalor Park family. Our supporters include;
-Tyndale Christian School – Norwest Christian School – Genworth
-Blacktown Sai Lighthouse Temple – Hunter Hampers – Dearest Lips
-Rotary Roseville /Chatswood & Rosehill – Blanket Patrol Western Sydney – Kellyville Anglican
-Happytime Novelty Co – Zero Pac – Kellyville High School
-Blacktown City Council – Share the Dignity – Kingslangly Scout Group
-Blacktown Kildare Masonic Lodge – The Commonwealth Bank -Foodbank
Way back in 2011 a big-hearted and proactive little group of 4 local residents, saw a need in the community for a service similar to that of Carevan Albury’s ( now the Carevan Foundation) to deliver real care and love in the form of a warm meal, a cuppa and a chat, to those who most needed this generosity and support… it was easier as the slogan says, to care than to turn away…
This week we had a visit from one of this original group, Terry Evans. Terry is a friend to us always and we love his bright happy company. It isn’t hard to see why Carevan in the hands of Terry and the other members of the “awesome foursome” was embraced by the community and has progressed through the years to the Carevan of 2020.
Carevan provides still, for the same basic human needs; food and substance, social connection and acceptance without judgement or question, just as Terry and the Carevan originals had set out to achieve, and it was lovely to have him and Erica join us for a chat and a meal…
We were also joined by Stephen from the Tyndale Christian College for the evening. Tyndale and the Norwest Christian School were instrumental also to Carevan’s beginnings, providing the meals and the storage of these, and remains today fundamental to our program and service.
It was lovely having Stephen along with “Fresh Tyndale eyes” full of exciting options to add to our program and to continue the awesome partnership into the future.
As we say every week, we simply could not do what we do without the amazing community and individual support we receive from clothing to eggs, cooking to serving, packing and unpacking … it’s all wonderful and keeps the Carevan wheels turning .. and of course to long term and new support and friendships.
Thank you, Terry and Stephen, for coming along to say “HI”. It was lovely to have you join us and to catch up on the past and present as we look to the future.
Taken from Posting on Carevan Blacktown Facebook for the week of November 9th
Carevan is now the very lucky recipient of a regular supply of freshly laid eggs, courtesy of some of the funkiest named chickens in the neighbourhood. 🐓
These fine feathered friends; Edna, Cassie, Pearl, Avery, Ginger, Daphne, Callie, Olive, Honey and Irene, have grown from little chicks to egg-laying beauties, and are now honorary volunteers for Carevan. 🐥
The girls will be providing freshly laid ‘eggyness’ direct to Norwest’s Carevan cooking program for meal preparation and we are EGGstatic to have them in the hen house 🥚
We were EGGcited to meet with the chook’s custodians; Brenda, Merryn, Piper and Mackenzie on Tuesday evening, along with the ‘spokes-chook’ Callie, a spectacular spotty feathered beauty, who came along in a special carry pack! 🐣
AND In another first for Carevan, Sophie and Linh, two lovely local hairdressers, have offered us their skillset and time to assist any of our guests who would like to trim their human feathers. 🥚 This lovely offer was taken up by 6 or so very happy guests at the first event and will be a regular gig at Carevan’s evenings out. We are so grateful for the ladies’ generous gift of community care. 🐓
So very many good eggs in the community, who reach out each and every week, to help Carevan and those we serve in some way. We thank you ALL for the thought, hard work, innovation, kindness and generosity of spirit and deed… you ALL help us keep Carevan sunny side up. 🐓
Lalor Park Library; Cnr. Freeman Street and Northcott Road, Lalor Park
Carevan Blacktown was founded in 2011 and is an affiliate of The Carevan Foundation formed By Dr John Brabant in Albury many years earlier. Members of the Blacktown local area, who were friends of Dr Brabant, saw a need for a similar service in the local area and established Carevan Blacktown.
Carevan Blacktown is a smaller entity and our weekly meal service is the focal point of our efforts, but we are no less dedicated to the objective to serve those less fortunate than ourselves. Like the Foundation, we aim to promote and put into practice the mission “…to create a sense of identity, a sense of belonging and a sense of achievement. … focused on changing “us” and “them” to become “we…”.
Carevan serves those battling hardship and disadvantage of all kind; homelessness, financial hardship, isolation and loneliness principal among these. We strive to provide a meal of substance for the body, while meeting the bigger objective of social inclusion across all demographics and all circumstance.
Each week Carevan provides a meal service in Lalor Park Community hall. Run by a team of dedicated and diligent volunteers, we create a warm, welcoming and non-judgemental setting. The community are able to come together to share a meal and some time, to connect with each other and with a community that cares for them.
Carevan collects and supplies fruit and vegetables from local businesses, donated to supplement the weekly meal service. We provide take away meals to accommodate families and individuals into the week, extras that might otherwise not be affordable or accessible.
Carevan works in collaboration with all our supporters, who donate time, food, money, items of care and support, delivering these goods each week to those most in need.
Our business supporters include The Masonic Club Blacktown, Roseville and Chatswood Rotary Club and the Richmond Rotary Club, Dearest Lips, Genworth Financial, Daily Fresh and of course the Norwest and Tyndale Christian Schools who make and store the meals we serve each week.
We were lucky enough to be recipients of the Commonwealth Bank’s ‘CommBank Staff Foundation Community Grant’ in 2020 and the Federal Office of Greenway’s community grant 2018, which enabled the purchase of a second hand van in early 2019 to replace the old and iconic van, in which the Carevan had begun in Blacktown.
And of course, the backbone of our work is the countless individuals who reach out to Carevan to donate all manner of contributions. Without our amazing community support, we would truly just be a van!
Carevan conducts blanket and clothing appeals, supply hygiene and general home care products and are the conduit for a generous community donating items to those in need, on the community’s behalf.
Carevan are growing year by year and our need for community support does not diminish with this growth. We are in desperate need of a warehouse for example, in which to store the items delivered and donated to us, with which to serve the community with.
We are in constant weekly need of consumables such as plates, takeaway containers, disposable cutlery, serving foil trays, pantry items and long-life milk and custard just to name a few!
We are enormously grateful to all those who support our endeavours and follow our work. We would love you to follow us on Facebook, share our postings and join with us in making life a little easier for those less fortunate than ourselves.
And we’d especially love to hear from you if you have a storage solution for us 🙂
Carevan are blessed with HUMONGOUS community support and generosity, which drives everything we do and enables us to fulfil our mission to assist those among us most in need of care and a helping hand. Carevan may extend the hand, but what we offer comes directly from the homes and businesses of the community in which we operate, an extraodinary community of great kindness.
This support may be through donated pantry items to add to bare shelves, to supplement work and school lunch boxes or to add to the meal table through the week. Or it may simply be the replenishment of body and soul, through a shared donated meal, at a table of friends and community, rather than a meal at home alone. The shared experience lessening the burden and a laugh together, helping to erase the worries, just a little… and in a warm environment filled with the sound of voices.
Whatever is needed, Carevan only has to ask and we are gifted with extraordinary kindness. This year’s Winter blanket appeal resulted in busy hands and hearts getting to work to donate knitted beanies and scarves, warm jumpers and jackets, socks and gloves, blankets and throws, sleeping bags and clothing… We receive items each week throughout winter, to distribute to those who are most in need of this added warmth and comfort and cannot begin to thank you all enough …
Time and again we are struck by the communities genuine care and compassion for the next-door neighbour doing it tough or the unknown members of the community most affected by social disadvantage, financial hardship and loneliness. This is never more evident than in the cold months when the prospect of not having a warm meal, clothing or shelter to retreat to, is hard to imagine enduring and this community works very hard to remedy the gaps in meeting these basic human needs and goes a long way to seeing that where help is possible to deliver, it is.
Community Kindness and Generosity.. the fuel that keeps Carevan’s wheels turning
Moving right along with the times and in keeping with the COVID restrictions, Carevan Blacktown has (well, actually one of our more techno-savvy committee members has) set up our training sessions via the magic of a ZOOM training presentation.
Using the new technology, to accommodate the COVID restrictions, and some good “old fashioned” experience from our CEO and team members, Carevan is really pleased to be able to conduct training sessions online via ZOOM, keeping our teams supported by bolstering numbers and encouraging and engaging new members into the Carevan Family
We have received extraordinary interest since we returned to the streets ( in the fabulous community hall) some 4 weeks ago, and this has only increased since advertising a new date for training… truly amazing and so heartwarming to see that the community is looking out for each other in this time of stress, duress and uncertainty.
Carevan is simply a conduit between the most generous of communities ( OURS!) and its most vulnerable and disadvantaged members, in need of a helping hand … and we simply cannot do without such amazing support.
Our first ZOOM training session was a great success and we will continue online into the future, as this forum brings with it many positives and possibilities, not the least of which is to enable the sessions to be run more frequently.
Online meetings, webinars and chats, make most things doable, as we have found with working from home and connecting to family and friends in more lateral and technical ways, during this extraordinary year. More importantly, it has proven to be a successful way to stay connected and continue on with life, together … and it has taught a few old Luddites a thing or two … silver linings
Our wonderful Facebook team will publish these sessions as they are approaching and everyone and anyone is welcome to join in.. just grab a cuppa, find a computer and follow the link… and share with those you think may be interested in joining in
Carevan Blacktown is back in action and we couldn’t be happier
Carevan started back after our COVID hiatus, on July 7th. We are now in warm, dry and spacious quarters, inside the Lalor Park Community Hall.
We are catering as always, for those in need of a warm meal, fruit and veg and other goodies for the week and most importantly, the renewal of friendships put on hold and connections to the generosity and care of the community
We are adhering to social distancing, checking in on arrival and hand sanitiser galore.
We have had a couple of weeks already of cold and wet winter weather, making us all the more appreciative of our new digs and would like to say huge thanks to Blacktown Council for their support of our return venture.
Everyone is welcome every Tuesdayevenings at the Lalor Park Community Hall from 7:30 pm