In February, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Sydney, Australia helped out at Sydney Foodbank, a charity that provides food to over 400 other charities, which in turn distribute the food to those in need.
The Mormon volunteers were all workers from the Church’s Australian administrative offices in Carlingford, Sydney. Thirty-eight volunteered over four weeks and spent a day picking and packing food onto pallets, sometimes with arms elbow deep in onions, all the while building friendships and unity. "Our staff had fun while rendering service to a cause all agreed was extremely worthwhile,” said office manager, Mark Allen.
The Foodbank of New South Wales operates with a small crew, relying on the donated labour of charitable groups to pull the orders from the shelves and pack them onto pallets to be sent to groups which distribute the food to individuals and families in need.
“The Australia Service Centre enthusiastically took up the challenge to lend a helping hand,” Mr Allen said.
He continued: “An awareness of those less fortunate in our community and an appreciation for the efforts of the Foodbank organisation to provide food for charity groups that provide for those in need motivated our people.”
The slogan and main focus of the foodbank is “An Australia without Hunger.”
Foodbank Australia has been in operation in NSW for 20 years. “With the valued support of the food and grocery industry and of government, we have provided a critical service to the health and welfare of millions of Australians,” said Foodbank New South Wales Chairman Ern Pope.
“Most Australians express surprise and disbelief when they are informed that more than two million people in this country go hungry each year,” Mr Pope added, “with around half of these being children.”
One Mormon volunteer, Victoria Espinosa, said, “We filled pallet after pallet with food items, which will be sent to Aussie charities to distribute. Next time I fuss just to satisfy my petty culinary whims or refuse to eat leftovers, I’m going to remember this meaningful experience.”
Fellow volunteer, Richard Osmotherly, said, “There was an element of good-will knowing that we were acting as volunteers for another charity. Everyone in our group serving at the Foodbank was busy the entire time, many doing back-breaking work.”
Mark Allen noted that the response from the Australia Service Centre team was “overwhelmingly positive with many willing to help again if given the opportunity.”