Category Archives for Uncategorized

Carevan Blacktown on the Silver Screen

Carevan Blacktown recently welcomed Oliver and Maria from NXTCreative along to an evening out at Lalor Park, to help us put together a little video of what it is we do at Carevan Blacktown (the link is below)
The videos’ purpose is to give a little insight into our evenings, “show” people the impact we have and to thank those amazing organisations and individuals who support our endeavours; from a knitted beanie, a cooked meal, a volunteering or fundraising event through to grants and funding for the necessities of achieving our mission.
We are hugely grateful to each and every one and many of these wonderful groups and people never see what we do or how our work, on their behalf, helps the community.
We are the sum of all our parts of course and there are many, many, many people, volunteers, supporters and others who keep the Carevan wheels turning each and every week, most are not in this one (first) view into a Carevan Blacktown evening.. it’s impossible to capture it all in one video, but the spirit is present and the message is clear.. The Carevan Blacktown community is a special one and this is just a tiny glimpse into our work, mission and efforts to care for our community.
We hope to do more of these in the future (Oliver and Maria .. look out!) and capture yet more of our amazing Carevan family adventures, but for now we would love to share this awesome video ..
Stay tuned for the sequel “Carevan Blacktown ..Still Caring” and maybe even the “Xmas special”
Feel free to copy and share..
Humongous fluoro green thanks to Oliver and Maria.. you are fabulous and we cant recommend you more highly.

Carevan Blacktown; Homelessness Week 2022

Homelessness week 2022 ๐Ÿ 
Homelessness Australia uses the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) statistical definition of homelessness.
โ€œWhen a person does not have suitable accommodation alternatives they are considered homeless if their current living arrangement is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or does not allow them to have control of, and access to, space for social relationsโ€
The ABS definition of homelessness is informed by an understanding of homelessness as โ€˜homeโ€™lessness, not โ€˜roofโ€™lessness.
It emphasises the core elements of โ€˜homeโ€™ in Anglo-American and European interpretations of the meaning of home… These elements may include a sense of security, stability, privacy, safety, and the ability to control living space.
Homelessness is therefore a lack of one or more of the elements that represent โ€˜homeโ€™.
In Australia, there are over 116,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night. ๐Ÿ 

Why do people experience homelessness?

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare;
Homelessness can be the result of many social, economic and healthโ€“related factors. Individual factors, such as low educational attainment, whether someone is working, experience of family and domestic violence, ill health (including mental health issues) and disability, trauma, and substance misuse may make a person more at risk of becoming homeless (Fitzpatrick et al. 2013). Structural factors, including lack of adequate income and limited access to affordable and available housing, also contribute to risk of homelessness (Johnson et al. 2015; Wood et al. 2015).
Organisations such as the Salvation Army and the Smith Family are critical and important services for people experiencing homelessness and the issues that can lead to this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEkPCKmzh1A
Carevan Blacktown works locally to serve all who attend, no matter the reason. Many of our community experience the issues that can lead to homelessness and rooflessness, living week to week with this reality and in a cycle of poverty and disadvantage. People seek outย services such as ours to access meals, food, clothing and other resources to assist short or long term.
We work in collaboration with our amazing community and with its tremendous support, to provide care, connection and practical assistance, but we are not the solution

Carevan Blacktown; Winter Wonderful 2022

We are the very humble recipients this week of blankets and warm clothing gathered over the past few months, by the Kids Early Learning group. The child care centres which operate under this banner, and the families they care for, have donated two van loads of warmth and love and we are honoured by their having chosen Carevan for this enormous generosity. It is especially precious when it is coming from a place of learning and teaching our children by example, about community care and looking out for each other, sharing resources, and seeing that no one is left behind or wanting.
Another kind gentleman who donated funds and household goods last week, sent a message in which he told us that he was trying to instil in his own children this same sense of care for the community and most particularly, those in need. In the text message received, he wrote this lovely saying โ€œwhen you have more than you need, build a bigger table, not a higher fenceโ€ which is our very objective at Carevan, as we pass on the kindness we are shown by so many.
We have received this week, and over the past few weeks in fact, so many individual donations of food, clothing, blankets and household items. Hand-knitted warmth, newly purchased and preloved goods, a financial donation to purchase blankets for our 2022 winter season and so much more… there simply arent enough ways to say thank you, but we do and are incredibly grateful for every little bit of it… right down to acknowledging the kind store manager who used her own personal discount card to maximise the donated funds used to purchase blankets today… a little anonymous gesture of kindness that warms the heart and bodies of one or two more lucky recipients.
Enormous gratitude and thanks to ALL our generous donors, to the AMAZING Kids Early Learning centres and their families (& most especially Nicole and Pushpa for the inspiration and coordinating this wonderous feat)
Thanks to the fabulous Dom at Bunnings for your gentle, generous spirit in assisting with the recent BBQโ€™s bottom line, but just as importantly the little bags of blankets, socks, clothing and food that are so lovingly put together by yourself in your own individual work and contribution.
Big warm hugs to our own Carevanย team who have collected, sorted, folded, and organised this treasure trove over this very wet and cold winter, as though Mother Nature needed to make a point of how very necessary and timely this work and care is.
All this tangible love extends our ‘Carevan communal table’ from the hallโ€™s stage to the kitchen cooking teamโ€™s bounty and out the open doors, winding its way through homes and to families and folks in need, bringing comfort and care to so many.
Thanks to all, as with every week, every call, every dish, every thought, every article of warmth and care counts and adds a warm seat and a plate at our table.
Thank YOU

Carevan Blacktown; Winter’s warmth

Itโ€™s cold ๐Ÿฅถ outside, the heating is turned up, the blankets are out and ugg boots are on …
Itโ€™s hard to believe that just two years ago we were out in the car park serving up meals … a cold, windy memory now and so very glad to be in the generous warmth of the community hall, in the shelter this offers and under the radiator heat!
We usually run a blanket appeal at this time of year, but such is the generosity of our supporters that this has been taken care of for 2022 and we’ve barely had to get out the knitting needles …
The Kids Early Learning Child Care community has been busy running a Winter Appeal over the past month or so, amongst their amazing community and on behalf of Carevan, and we are excited to bring this generous donation to the Carevan stage in the next few weeks, as part of the winterโ€™s warmth appeal… and across town our supporter Sunil and his colleagues have raised money and donated blankets to the winter’s cause…
And of course, all our community’s many warm-hearted individuals donating warm clothing, bedding and busy knitting lots of beeeeeutiful pom pom adorned beanies, scarves and throws.. all of which help to warmย hearth and home and enableย Carevanย toย deliver some much-needed support at this chilly time of the year.
If youโ€™d like to contribute a blanket or some warm items this winter, to help keep our Carevan family warm and well, please get in touch. As with our previous winter appeals, we ask only for a single new blanket (around $25) or perhaps a preloved blanket โ€ฆ (in good condition please โ€ฆ the cold blows in through holes). Keeping warm is an expensive business and we are grateful for all kind and cosy contributions.
Speaking of community support, our friends at the Blacktown Workers Club will be hosting a CEO sleep-out this Thursday night 23rd. If youโ€™re interested in supporting this event which will, in turn, support The Blacktown Womenโ€™s and Girls Health centre (and assist their work with women and children facing homelessness) please follow the link. We are all supporting a common goal at the end of the (cold) night and applaud the team for getting out to face a night in the cold chill, as so many less fortunate do, without an option or warm home to return to.
Get in touch via messenger or
email; info@carevanblacktown.org.au

Carevan Blacktown; Kindness in a Box

Carevan is the recipient of care and support from many different areas of our community, always. We are, as often said, simply the conduit between a kind community and those in need of its care. This support comes in person or from simply being part of a generous social network.

As mentioned in previous postings, weโ€™ve been the very grateful recipient of boxes of fruit and veg from the local Box Divvys over the years, and thought weโ€™d shine a little light on this super initiative and the aptly named โ€œKindness Boxโ€ which Box Divvy Hubsters and their members donate to the community and to the Carevan family.

Box Divvyโ€™s mission began with a couple of farmers in 2019 on the mid north coast who, working with Western Sydney Diabetes Alliance and NSW Health, sought to โ€œprovide quality food, pay farmers fairly and make fresh food available at extraordinary prices.โ€

By connecting families to local producers, backyard growers, wholesalers from nearby and some from farther afield, Box Divvy facilitates โ€˜hyper-efficientโ€™ access to nutritious seasonal fruit and veg, making healthy eating affordable and accessible, creating and supporting community connections using environmental and sustainable change to benefit all.

Carevan are not directly involved in the Box Divvy program as such, but have become the fortunate recipients of its community focus and broader care, through a lovely by-product called the โ€˜Kindness Box.โ€™

The local Hubsters, Zoe at Lalor Park and Raquel at Quakers Hill and their community, generously donate towards the โ€˜Kindness Boxesโ€™,ย  fruit and veg, eggs and other nuggets of fresh goodness which the Carevan Kitchen team to use in cooking up meals, while Bella Vistaโ€™s Hubster Flavia, and her network deliver (via our own lovely Carevan volunteer, Sue) a โ€˜Kindness Boxโ€™ direct to a Carevan family household in need of this nutritious bounty.

A โ€˜Kindness Boxโ€™ is filled with produce not required or excess, but never wasted, or simply donated intentionally by generous community members, for the express purpose of offering this onwards to the community beyond the programโ€™s members, in a lovely anonymous gesture of contribution for othersโ€™ wellbeing.

Box Divvy is a wonderful initiative, the boxes are bursting with colourful goodness and nutrition and speak to its mission of promoting wellbeing in others and self, sustainable care for community and more broadly the planet, and we are hugely grateful to be chosen for these boxes chock full of the Kindness they are named for.

If youโ€™d like to explore this program further for your own family, links are below or just take a look at the vibrant pics of these mini treasure chests.

Meanwhile THANK YOU Box Divvy and all your members for your generosity and support of Carevanโ€™s communal table.

https://www.boxdivvy.com/

Zoe – Lalor Park

https://www.facebook.com/BoxDivvyLalorParkDalray

Raquel – Quakers Hill

https://www.facebook.com/BoxDivvyQuakersHillAcuba

Flavia – Bella Vista

https://www.facebook.com/BoxDivvyBellaVistaIbis

Carevan Blacktown meets Year 6

As part of their Primary school curriculum focus on poverty and world hunger and more particularly poverty closer to home; the Tyndale Christian School, who are one of our long-term affiliates, conducted a pantry food drive over the past few weeks, gathering together many, many, many boxes of donated love and goodness โ€ฆ. ๐Ÿฅฐย ย Such a fabulous bounty of tinned food, pasta, rice, cereal, biscuits and so much kindness from our young friends in year 6.
Poverty is a complex and multifactorial issue affecting millions around the world, including of course, here in Australia. According to the Foodbank Hunger Report 2021; 1 in 8 Australians live below the poverty line and 1 in 6 are children below the age of 14, this issue is present in our own communities and on our doorstep. โ€œNobody deserves it. Nobody wants it or asks for it.โ€
Many of those living on or below the poverty line, have an income (64% of people experiencing food insecurity have jobs) but are struggling to meet the necessities of life & frequently food is sacrificed to keep the electricity on, pay for a school excursion for example or to cope with unforeseen circumstances, such as recent weather events.
Accessing or finding support can be difficult and asking for help may be a very brave step and can often be attached to social stigma and labelling, so the opportunity to attend an evening such as Carevanโ€™s, opens up the doors (literally) to a warm meal, company with others and the chance to take away some pantry filling goodies and staples for the week, without any question or judgement.
Last week, Carevanโ€™s CEO Andrew had the privilege of being invited to the Tyndale Primary school to talk to the kids and teachers about how we serve people experiencing poverty within our shared community and how we simply cannot do this without the generosity of groups like the schools, businesses and individuals who support Carevan in so many ways, to achieve this TOGETHER.
The kids were engaged and interested and asked fantastic (and funny) questions… itโ€™s a special thing to have the youngest members of our society being concerned for people doing it tough and being invested, at such a young age in caring for each other in meaningful and tangible ways. The grocery collection will fill hampers, pantries and plates and more importantly hearts, with the knowledge that the community, young and old, cares and is invested in helping each other through.
We are very thankful for the school having chosen Carevan Blacktown to shine a little light on, as part of how the community can serve those experiencing poverty, and of course thankful for our long association with Tyndale. Huge gratitude to Kate, their teacher for organising this visit and to all the teachers and staff who made Carevan welcome and of course to the kids of Year 6, their families, and the school for the incredibly generous donation.

Carevan Blacktown “Feeding the People “

Feeding the People isย at the core of Carevan Blacktown’s missionย and the kitchen, like in many families, is at the heart of this endeavour

Carevan serves up around 80 + meals on a Tuesday evening and we are providing hampers and emergency meals through the week; this work is growing beyond the capacity of the few that manage this and we need some help and would LOVE your involvement.
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We often receive enquiries about assistance from people keen to help but unable to commit to regular street team evenings, for all kinds of obligations and commitments, but this doesnโ€™t diminish their generous offer of careโ€ฆ
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And so, dear Carevan community, this week we are starting something new and we are asking for assistance. We need mealsโ€ฆ
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We are forming a group within Carevan, which we have christened โ€œCAREVAN KITCHENโ€ ย which will be a community collective of cooking and meal donations to increase our meal supply and support the teams working so hard each week, ย to serve up to our Carevan family.
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We always need trays of food to serve, to freeze and to add to the food we currently receive and make ourselves.
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Everyone is welcome to donate meals, big or small, on an ad-hoc basis or perhaps become part of a regular cooking team or roster. We are very grateful for anything you would like to add…
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You may already be a friend, volunteer or Carevan community follower โ€ฆ or a neighbour, family or friend of someone who is…you may want to make something once a month, a fortnight or just a once-off contribution. You certainly donโ€™t have to prepare enough for 80 … any help is enough to help โ€ฆ and is wonderful.
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You can use your own ideas, your grandmotherโ€™s best recipe, kid’s least favourite, school recipe books or family faves… or just mix up a big batch of generosity sprinkled with the power of kindness and drop it to us (or we can collect) โ€ฆget in touch with so we know โ€œwhatโ€™s cookingโ€ and we coordinate, so as not to waste a single sprinkle.
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Volunteering for Carevan Blacktown or any charitable organisation, brings with it all kinds of benefits and youโ€™ll never feel better than when your food is served to folks who would otherwise be going without… or at least without YOUR yummy foodโ€ฆ or rather โ€ฆ edible loveย 

Carevan Kitchen

Would you like to contribute to our cooking community?
If you’d like to join with us, in delivering kindness and a warm meal with the ‘Carevan Kitchen’ team ๐Ÿฒ
Please get in touch ๐Ÿ˜‡
email: info@carevanblacktown.org.au

Carevan Blacktown Charity Affiliates and Support

This image below, taken from a recent Foodbank NSW and ACT appeal is both poignant and pertinent to our own service and our charityโ€™s mission. It illustrates perfectly why Carevan Blacktown and many other charities like us, do what we do, why YOU, our supporters and donors do what you do … for folks you may or may never meet.
This is the fundamental reason why Carevan Blacktown came into being in 2011; to provide meal support for people who have so little or for whom each week means juggling tiny incomes to address the essentials, manage the unforeseeable and still have something left for food. Often for the elderly, the pensioners, the under or unemployed or the minimum wage earners, the meal or rather an adequate, nutritious, sustaining meal, is the sacrifice.
It’s why (sadly, in most respects) Carevan have seen such enormous growth over the past 10 years in those in need and attending our evenings. It’s why we serve, trying as best we can to care for individuals, struggling to meet the basics of human requirements each week and to do this with kindness, dignity, and without judgement.
Principal among these requirements too, is the simple human need for companionship and community and this underpins the success of our community weekly meal service. (though is this the right word? ‘success’ as our CEO has once said, would be no one in need and no one at our doors!)
The Carevan Blacktown family of volunteers and supporters work very hard each week to provide a conduit between an amazingly generous community and its most vulnerable members. Foodbank’s posting message and image, a reminder of why we serve.
We are grateful every week for our friendships and connections with organisations that make our service possible at all, such as FoodBank, OzHarvest, Hunter Hampers, Parklea stall holders Bob and Boris, Norwest Christian school, Dearest Lips, Blacktown Masonic lodge, Blacktown Council and so many, many others that support our work in so innumerable ways big and small, every scintilla of care is worth its weight in gold.
Our amazing volunteers are the oil (more valuable even than at the pumps right now!) that turns the Carevan wheels. We are very grateful for all those whoโ€™ve reached out to join us via SEEK and Messenger over the past couple of weeks. With new members coming on board to provide much needed hands. We are beyond grateful for the attention shown us. ๐Ÿ’š We hope that your volunteering experience will be as fulfilling as its contribution is to the lives of those who will benefit from your time, care and kindness.
The wet weather didnโ€™t keep us away this past few weeks nor the community from our doors, much of this owing to the access to and use of, the amazing facility that is the community hall, which the council graciously allows us the use of. Were we to still be in the car park this past (and future weeks by the look of the forecasts) many would simply have gone without, but a roof over the head makes many things possible.
Thank you all, YOU all make it possible
๐Ÿ’š

Carevan Blacktown Welcomes 2022

We are back for 2022, Back to the lovely cool Community Hall at Lalor Park to serve up our meal and hamper service for the New Year
As with every year, our meals come to us courtesy of the cooking dynamos of the Carevanย Blacktown community.๐Ÿœย  Norwest Christian School, “Erkso Eats” (Erskine Park High School) Roshni, the Blacktown Sai Centre, and our own cooking team of Carevan Volunteers. Our meals are supplemented by hampers and other goodies from the amazing crew at OzHarvest, food from Foodbank, Donna and Hunter Hampers, and Boris and Bob at Parklea Markets… AND of course lots of clothing, blankets and household goods from the amazing community and friends.
The first weekย out we served up a chicken dish made from the wonderful bounty we received from Hawkesburyโ€™s Helping Hands in the first few weeks of 2022โ€ฆ. As featured in our Facebook postings, this produce godsend will help us for many months to come in supporting our meal service. We are very, very thankful to Linda and her team and to the bigger process in the chain of events and work that saw this produce redistributed and not wasted, which it might otherwise have been. We will ensure that we make the most of the blessing this is and are truly thankful.
We have begun receiving hampers from our friends at OzHarvest once more, as they too commenced the new year after well-earned Xmas breaks for all. We hope support for this awesome program will continue into 2022, benefitting charities like ours and of course the wider community, but principally because this organisation ensures produce use, reuse and waste reduction, in so many different and valuable ways. https://www.ozharvest.org/fight-food-waste/๐ŸŽ
We are masked up and ready for 2022 and what it has in store, but whatever it is it will be done together with our amazing community, partners and support networks, all of which make our week to week possible.

ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  Happy New Year and see you in it

welcome back decorative lettering text greeting card with burst explosion

Carevan Blacktown Celebrating Christmas Day 2021

The Carevan Blacktown family have come together and celebrated this lovely time when, unlike any other time of the year, we are filled with the spirit of giving and receive ourselves, the most incredible support and generosity from a truly amazing community. ๐Ÿ’š
We have closed out the year with an extraordinary evening on the 21st December, serving over 200 people with a Christmas meal, hampers and gifts for all passed on, on behalf of an overwhelmingly generous community.
On Christmas day morning we held our annual breaky BBQ. The food for this is donated each year by Pamela and her amazing team of friends and colleagues, who provide us with a wonderful bounty of BBQ goodies (bacon, eggs, sausages and so much yummy food) which is all prepared and served up by our Carevan volunteers and supporters. ๐Ÿ’š
Our thanks also to Sunil who provided bread rolls for all and who took a turn with the tongs at the BBQing as well.
Christmas hampers, gathered and wrapped up with love ๐Ÿ’ and donated by Roshni and the Blacktown Sai Centre were distributed by Stephen Bali MP, who dropped by to spend some time with us, which was an honour indeed and a lovely surprise. As we do with all those who come along, we put Stephen to work with the task of distributing the hampers and then a turn at the BBQing skills with the other gents on the tongs โ€ฆ no one can come along to a Carevan event and not be given a task or two! Thanks Stephen for your gift of time and attention … and your work on the eggs ๐Ÿณ
Our team of volunteers and special supporters for the day taking care of all manner of other Christmas tasks were Christmas Angels; Kimbalee, Elsebeth, Nicole, Sunil, Malcolm, Liam, Gary, Simon, Louise, Michael, Natalie, Justine and Luke, Bruce and team lead (and the hardest working CEO in town) Andrew.
It was a beautiful morning in the sunshine and a lovely way to close out the Carevan Christmas season, which has been a very busy but joyous and was full of all the good things .. a โ€œniceโ€ list filled to capacity and Santaโ€™s work done for the year.
We are dependent on and grateful beyond words for the compassion and benevolence of an amazing community, which contributes food, toys, gifts, time, work and care all year long but most particularly at Christmas time and among these our partners, supporters and green army of volunteer angels ๐Ÿ˜‡
Carevan are simply the conduit between a warm-hearted and caring community and the people who most need their care. We cannot do our thing without this kindliness, which starts right at the top with our community leaders and is carried on down the line by people with big hearts from across all sectors and demographics.
Thank you one and all and we look forward to serving in 2022
See you on the 11th of January!
Stay safe and well and Happy Christmas
๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿš๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿš๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿš๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿš๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿš๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿš๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿš๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿš
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