2015 has been a phenomenal year for the Halal Food Bank – Perth team. We cannot even begin to express our gratitude and astonishment at the way the project and the team has grown in such a short amount of time. So I am here, your resident HFB – Perth blogger, to wrap this year up, take a look back at what we have achieved this year through countless blessings and where our sights are set for 2016.
2015 marked the year that we packed our 3001st box of food! Our final count for boxes packed this year – 1275 – accounted for 40% of the project total to date. The contribution of the Perth community proved invaluable; we had groups and individuals contribute through creative fundraising efforts all of their own accord, from organising basketball tournaments to tempting the sweet tooth of co-workers! Not to mention the momentous effort during Ramadan that saw 200 boxes packed, turning our packing premises into a flurry of hectic activity.
As a project that started out packing roughly 20 boxes a month, these figures are nothing short of exponential.
2 new agencies also came on board this year: Ruah Community Services and Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre. Collaborating with these two remarkable organisations extended our reach within the community whilst simultaneously opening more doors to communication, education and friendship.
2015 was the year our Instagram, blog and YouTube channel were born! And yes, we are aware that these things do not make us as cool as we undoubtedly feel that they do (we know that every person under the sun is in possession of one or all of these accounts – I mean, absolute full disclosure: I follow dogs on Instagram, so…)
The team also ventured out into the real world, setting up information stalls and donation stations at various community events – a few members of the team were even graciously invited to the premises of Food Rescue for a tour. This active participation in the community led to a humbling reception within the media in 2015 with our awesome coordinator Maryam featured in an article post her completion of a leadership program as well as on 95.3fm, an interview centring on our first ever Point Rep Playoffs!
My Life, My Place hosted at the Outdoor Community Cinemas (Burswood) by the Town of Victoria Park was by far one of our greatest highlights this year. The short doco explored what the HFB was, its purpose and what this little project that we’ve poured our hearts and souls into means to us and how it benefits the community. The entire team came out, jittery with excitement and anticipation as we kicked back on our beanbags under the warm night sky.
I’ll be the first to say that I was on the edge of my beanbag and when that first shot of a HFB packing box appeared on the screen, the team echoed an audible “Ooh!” in elation. It was very much a, “I recognise that box! I was there! I know those people!” sort of moment. We were a very embarrassing bunch that night: we may or may not have made off with a poster with our coordinators face on it.
Our (slightly too) enthusiastic cheering after the end of the 5-minute feature stemmed from a place of pure delight at seeing our little project so warmly received and recognised within the community.
As cheesy as it sounds – and there’s no denial here that what I’m about to say next is the cheesiest of all cheesy things – 2015 truly was a year of new beginnings for us. From all the ways in which the project expanded, it also grew as a family with 7 new additions (you can read our coordinator gush about who and how totally awesome we are here). There’s no exaggeration to be found when I say that we really enjoy each other’s company. Having as much fun together as we do, it doesn’t take much to get us off-topic or off-task, simply because we cannot pull ourselves together long enough to re-stock the shelf or load the car – mad laughter at 8am is normal, right?
After a trip overseas, Rizal – new 2015 team member & Thornlie point rep – was inspired to volunteer. He says of his HFB experience thus far that, being shy and quiet, it took a little while to settle into our very…boisterous team, but through events and our regular Inventory and Packing Days, he found that “we not only were a team, but a family, too.” Little things like being recognised whilst out as someone who is a part of this project and being given donations, being thanked by the public, only further inspired Rizal with his work and commitment to the project, and that may not mean much to anyone else, but it’s things like this that mean the world to us.
The passion for this project is what brought us together, but the relationships we’ve formed and the (albeit crazy) laughter that we’ve shared is what keeps this tightknit family together.
2016 is now hours away but for over a month, our notebooks and planners have been filled with ideas, events and plans for the year ahead. We are ready to work twice as hard because we believe in this project, believe in serving our Creator and giving back because we have been extremely blessed.
There are no more words left for us to express our utmost gratitude but alhamdulillah and thank you.
See you in the New Year, world!
Salaams from the Halal Food Bank – Perth Team for the last time in 2015 🙂