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
Carevan Blacktown is a non-remunerated charity organisation made up of everyday people who have a passion for assisting those who struggle to meet life’s basic needs. We are trying to show that one or two people who want to make a difference can engage and work with other like minded people to help to grow a movement that for today focuses on changing the lives of a few but ultimately may make a difference to many.
Carevan Blacktown is made up of every day busy people who know the value of showing love and kindness to those who don’t receive it otherwise, with the hope to make our community better. We are all people who have struggles right – some of us just need a helping hand – and our helping hand is offered through love.
We started with two local schools who cooked hot meals as part of their home economics program. The schools are still major providers but we are always looking for other helpers.
Through love we have seen many other people and organisations contributing valuable donations of hot meals, perishable and non perishable foods, blankets, scarves and their time on our street teams. If you would like to assist in any way please reach out to us via the Get in Touch button below. Together we can make a difference and leave this world a little better than we found it.