OSSWA for HFB! | Community Packing Days


Our community packing days are proving to be incredibly diverse.

From school initiatives (Langford Islamic College), to family affairs (Sumaiyah’s), to community functions (Indonesian Community), these packing days have even found their way into Australian universities!

When Wael from OSSWA contacted HFB to organise a packing within their student association, the excitement was real.

After all, HFB used to live on university campuses in the form of collection points!

The Omani Students Society in Western Australia (OSSWA) is a non-profit organisation and is the premier representative body of all Omani students at Curtin University of Technology, Murdoch University, the University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University, Central Institute of Technology and Canning College.

This team of students followed suit with previous community packing days by kicking into gear and collecting the donations they would eventually pack.

Come their packing day, OSSWA had collected and packed an amazing 26 boxes!

It was truly a special packing day when these students came together early on a Sunday morning to see their hard work move through the final stages in packing. Since then, we’ve had OSSWA members come down to regular packing days to see the usual chaos in action.

As you’ll notice by the brilliant photos on this post, this packing day had the privilege of hosting Rhiyaad Kahn as the photographer!

Rhiyaad took some time out on a Sunday morning to get these wonderful shots of the OSSWA Community Packing Day in action:





Rhiyaad is a Chartered Accountant by day who dabbles in photography, water sports and travel amongst various other hobbies. He’s been involved in projects such as the Refu-G ME Project with Shameema Kolia and Hamza Cakan, as well as being the Treasurer for the UN in WA.

It was an added bonus having Rhiyaad present at the OSSWA packing day, for both the good vibes and knowing how to get everyone’s good side.

When asked what inspires him to get involved in community initiatives, Rhiyaad said he gives back because of the abundance of blessings in his life, alhamdulillah.

If you would like to host your own community packing day OR if you would like to get involved with HFB in a freelance capacity, hit us up now: hfbperth@gmail.com!



Sixty Four at Sumaiyah’s! | Community Packing Days


It’s not enough to ask you to take our word for it that awesome people are doing awesome things in Perth. That’s why we’re kicking off our Community Packing Day spotlight series with Sumaiyah & her crew – our biggest collection and gathering to date!

Sumaiyah found out about hosting a Community Packing Day through our June newsletter (plug, plug: sign up for our newsletter).

“We were sitting at a friend’s daughter’s wedding and thought up the idea then. We wanted to get together to do something good and sent an email [to HFB] right then and there.”

Sumaiyah along with her family and friends held a community Eid dinner where they raised a whopping $330 for the project!


She continued raising funds after that event through her networks, aiming to donate 30 boxes worth of food.

However, come their packing day, they had collected enough donations for 64 boxes! That’s over a thousand dollars worth of food!


Words can’t express how wonderful it was to hear from Sumaiyah and her team as well as attend their little backyard packing day.

Sumaiyah’s family has now pledged to donate 10 boxes per month for the project, bringing the initiative into their home on an ongoing basis.

HFB-Perth would like to send a massive thank you and shout out to Sumaiyah and her crew for all of their efforts and contribution!

YOU can also host your own packing day with your family and friends – get in touch with us today to find out how: hfbperth@gmail.com


Get Your Community Packing On!

You’re all probably pretty familiar with the iconic HFB packing day. You rock up to our premises early on a Sunday morning, we all rush around packing food into boxes, we usually eat an unhealthy amount of cupcakes, we tape up and get out of there.

But 2017 has brought the cupcakes, tape and packing day to you!

(Well, cupcakes are BYO.)

Wonderful little pockets of our Perth community have been getting in touch all year to host their own Community Packing Days with their family and friends. We’ve even had teachers get their students and schools to fundraise, collect and pack their very own food boxes.


Zainab is our Community Liaison Officer, a link between the community and the project. 

“As a community liaison officer I help to facilitate the conversation with community members and groups on how they can engage with the project based on their capacity and circumstances.”

She has contributed to the organisation of every packing day in 2017 so far and has experienced the event firsthand.

“Hosting your own packing is a great way to get together with your community with a greater purpose all while having fun. It allows you to take ownership of the project and make it your own.”

Our Coordinator, Maryam, has had the privilege of seeing this project develop since its inception in Perth.

“Community Packing Days are a huge boost to the project. They help us see how far we’ve come on this journey and it feels really rewarding that the community are picking up this idea and making it their own.”

Community Packing Days have also helped us achieve a project goal which is to raise awareness of HFB’s cause. 

“It shows that people are starting to talk about issues like poverty in Australia over their dinner tables and being prompted to do something about it. It also shows that everyday people can do extraordinary things.”
~ Maryam

Community packing days have empowered our communities to step forward and take on the initiative to give back and better the society in which they live and we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of that.

If you would like to host a packing day with your family and friends, do not hesitate to get in touch with us at hfbperth@gmail.com!


Eid Cards 2017

The HFB Eid cards are back for 2017!

2017-06-08_collage_other entries3 (final).jpgFor the past three years, we have been putting Eid cards into our food boxes each Ramadan.

And each year, we have been consulting the children in our community for their genius to produce the designs!

This year, Sr Halida’s year 3 class from Australian Islamic College – Dianella took the challenge on and turned it into a competition.

We add the Eid cards each year as a warm greeting to the recipients of our food boxes. It’s also a great way to get the kids in our community engaged from a young age, even if it’s with something as simple as designing an Eid card.

(It’s also at least 30% for us because we get the giggles every time – kids are adorable and have wonderful imaginations, okay?!)

We have chosen three winners from 17 entries and they are:


Clean_2017HFBeid2_Abayti (win)Clean_2017HFBeid3_Dianda (win)Clean_2017HFBeid1_Abdul Rahman (win)

A big shoutout to the amazing kids from AIC Dianella and their wonderful teacher for facilitating this initiative.

Meaningful Contributions

Sometimes you wish and work and hope for things…and sometimes magical things just fall right into your lap.

It was an ordinary Tuesday morning and Maryam hit up the Whatsapp chat group to see if we had anything to share with our Facebook followers.

I started scrolling through my phone to see if I could find a cute photo or video from a previous packing day to share – #ThrowbackTuesday is still a thing, right?

But then Kamran came through with this:

“One of the donors decided to donate instead of throwing a birthday party for her 2 year old son.”

And then he sent through this gorgeous photo which we immediately began gushing over:

Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 9.48.29 pm
Duke Iman’s HFB haul!

Magical things!

I was recently doing some research for HFB with regards to donations and community engagement with initiatives like ours, and I came across this quote:

“Where we are seeing a lift is in the general community; more individuals are engaging in smaller, but still meaningful, contributions.”

When Kamran brought this wonderful act to our attention, that quote was the first thing that came to mind.

Parents choosing to turn their son’s second birthday into an opportunity to teach him about social responsibility is a meaningful contribution (also, at 2 years old! How amazing! Superhero parents!)

Check out what our fantastic donor had to say about their initiative:

My son is Duke Iman, 2 years old. On his birthday, instead of a gift and a party, we want to give to charity to teach him basic humanity.

So it’s going to be our small family tradition annually and we kickstarted with you guys.

We feel blessed to be part of this great cause. Thank you for making our community better 🙂

These tiny acts of awesomeness can be done anywhere and by anyone! Why not start up your own donation box at your workplace or school? Host a morning tea with your closest friends for a good cause? Cycle around Australia as a fundraiser? 😉

No matter how small or grandiose your plans are, we want to hear about them. Get in touch with us at hfbperth@gmail.com today!



Celebrating 5 years!

Celebrating 5 years!

It’s April, 2012.

5 women are gathered at a house in Bullcreek sipping tea and sharing some afternoon snacks. The host  is nervously running through a bunch of notes she made in preparation for this meeting. It’s her first time meeting these ladies, and she’s excited but extremely nervous about the venture.

The host was me and the group of ladies were the first Halal Food Bank – Perth team.

We gathered at my house to discuss how to kick off Halal Food Bank in Perth. I honestly can’t remember what we discussed but I remember crying. I think it was mostly nerves but I think there was also a lot of passion behind the start of this initiative. Though I’d been a part of the community through myWA for almost 7 years, setting up this project was a first for me. It challenged me in many, many ways least of which was the fact that the project HQ was in Sydney! But there’s something to be said of good intentions.

The group of ladies that surrounded me that day were the first cheerleaders for the project. They got the word out about providing non perishable food relief in boxes on a monthly basis which was a new concept for the Perth muslim community at the time.

Their energy socialised the idea of giving locally and helped me drop my guard about stuff I didn’t know much about. It also paved the way for the first HFB-Perth team to get their bearings and take on the most important part of our journey – the beginning. My gratitude for these women and my initial team is hard to put into words.

Link to 1 year anniversary event


Skip ahead four and half years. It’s December, 2016. This time I’m surrounded by another group of motivated, talented and hardworking women at a cafe on Adelaide Terrace. My mind is a torrent of activity and my heart is full. I’ve been working on the HFB Wrap Up series for 2016 so I’ve spent the day picking out project highlights for the year. I am once again lost for words.

We have come so far in this project and done so much!

I start the meeting with my now 1 year old team and I’m overwhelmed with emotion. Maybe it’s a girl thing, or maybe our journey warrants all this emotion but pretty soon, there isn’t a dry eye around the table. After a little while, Nicole claims “I knew Maryam was giong to cry! As soon as she started talking I just knew it!”. Whatever Nicole, I smirk and move on to plans for 2017.


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So here we are, June 2017 and Halal Food Bank – Perth is 5 years old. There is a new buzz around the project that is now supported by a team of 19 volunteers. Some of whom you met here. We are packing 200 boxes every month and starting to try out new things, like customised boxes for Shalom House and Mandingo Women’s Association.

The growth of the project makes 2 things glaringly obvious.

  1. Passion works when you work – If you love something, you have to commit to it, even when it gets hard. I’d be lying if I said it’s been a cruisy 5 years working through 3 teams, 3 locations and about a million different operational issues. I’m lucky that challenging situations tend to surface my creativity but I’m also grateful for the dedication of my amazing team. Witnessing the fruits of their hard work is uplifting to say the least.
  2. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail – What happens when you suddenly acquire 19 team members and can’t stop coming up with  ideas for taking the project further and wider? You’re hit with the realisation that strategic planning is an integral part of making sure you’re on the right track. Where are we going? Why are we going there and who’s coming with us? These questions have started to come up and we have all started to look at how sustainable the project is. The other big question on my mind is, how am I going to run a team of 19 people with a full time job and all my other commitments?

I’m suddenly gaining a renewed appreciation for CEOs and other business leaders. What a task!

Quote by Rumi
Look for the answer inside your question!

I once again take to pen and paper to calm the storm of ideas in my mind. After a few planning sessions with the team, we arrive at what we all believe should be the next step of the project. It’s taken a lot out of us but we now have a loose direction for a way forward. Incorporation seems to keep coming up but I can’t ask 19 people and a community of many to follow our loose plans. If we end up incorporating the project it’s going to mean a complete rebrand. There’s a big risk involved in moving this project forward but I don’t want to charge ahead without further consultation.

So – here’s the final output of months of conversation about where to next.

We, the HFB project team, need YOU, our amazing community of supporters to drive our vision forward. We’re canvassing ideas from the wider community so we can better support people in need. Maybe you think there isn’t a single thing we need to change, that’s great! Let us know.

Maybe you think there are a few important areas we should be working in. That’s great too. Just fill out the below form and let us know 🙂

HFB Survey
Help us shape the future of the project

I’m quietly excited about the changes coming up. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and determination but from experience, that’s what this team does best.

To the amazing community of supporters – Thanks for helping us get here.  We’re really looking forward to continuing the journey with you 🙂