And the Winner Is… | POINT REP PLAYOFFS 2015

Sunday the 4th of October 2015 marked HFB-Perth’s first ever Point Rep Playoffs (PRPO) packing competition. Stemming from a rivalry between collection points Mirrabooka and Padbury (and point representatives Nicole and Nomaan, respectively), the showdown at Padbury’s Al Majid Mosque had been highly anticipated.

In the end, one team did emerge victorious but we’ll get to that later…or you can just scroll down and find out, but I live on the hopes that you are far more enticed by my rambling than just the result, right?

Right?

Continue reading “And the Winner Is… | POINT REP PLAYOFFS 2015”

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World Food Day 2015 – Oct 1

 

October 16 every year marks World Food Day.

 

The day is deddfabb627437fe442203110cf27126f8bicated to raising awareness about hunger in today’s world. It’s a chance for you and I to stand together with others committed to eradicating hunger. This sounds like an ambitious goal which is why the team amass support from many many parts of the globe. By giving each year a theme, World Food Day sheds light on the many causes of hunger around the world. This year’s theme is “social protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty”. Put simply, the focus for 2015 is on developing support systems that allow farmers and their families to be less affected by poor yields and unforeseen events (like floods). Some practical examples of how this works:

  1. The Action Against Hunger crew provide tools and education for farmers to grow healthy crops.
  2. The same guys provide emergency therapeutic treatment to malnourished children.
There are many other examples – just google “world food day 2015”
Did you know that almost 5 million children under the age of 5 die of malnutrition-related causes every year?
Let’s do something to end hunger in our lifetime. Share this image to raise awareness. #wfd2015

Nafisa & Sabrah Attend the Wellbeing Expo (Sep 2015)

It was the Wellbeing Expo that brought Nafisa and I along to Wilson Hall on a Tuesday morning in September. We arrived eager to meet, greet and enlighten the attendees about the work that goes on at Halal Food Bank. The expo was hosted by Richmon12045222_452085814999718_7119787208501677967_od Wellbeing. It showcased services offered by ASSETS, Reach Out, the Muslim Women’s Support Centre and the Richmond Fellowship themselves to individuals and families requiring assistance to maintain their physical and mental health. We were lucky enough to have a stall right next to these agencies.

As Halal Food Bank’s role is to provide food to families and individuals who are unable to access safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food, we felt that our presence was quite fitting for the event.

In our short time at the expo we learned about the tireless work of staff in service agencies. In a highly summarised view, here’s what they do:

  • Richmond Wellbeing is a leading organisation that supports those who have a diagnosable mental illness.
  • MWSC WA (Inc) is a specialised agency within the Muslim community that works to promote better health, self-esteem, personal and spiritual growth in addition to the general well-being of Muslim women and their families.
  • ASeTTS provides services to those who have experienced difficulties in the process of migrating to Australia from places of turmoil.
  • Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation that provides early intervention through mental health services to 12-25 year olds.

Incredibly, we also received enough donations to fill our whole box. It was definitely worth taking some time out from our uni schedules to get out into the community and find out what other services agencies do.

The guys at the Fellowship really did an amazing job with the expo. They organised an animal farm for the kids (though Nafisa and I really loved this part!), delicious fruit kebabs, hand massages (omg!) and henna stalls. We also received a goody bag each that had loads of information about the representing organisations. I also really appreciated that the content of the expo catered to diverse ages and backgrounds.

A huge thanks to the staff at Richmond Wellbeing and the Muslim Women’s Support Centre for organising such a beneficial community-orientated event and for allowing us to participate. Keep checking in with the team to see where we’re off to next!

Bye for now,

Sabrah and Nafisa
(Curtin Reps, HFB Perth)

The Point Rep Playoffs Are Coming!

It’s no secret that we like a little bit of healthy competition here at HFB – Perth. We like it so much that two of our Collection Point Reps (Nicole and Nomaan who represent the Mirrabooka and Padbury collection points, respectively) kicked off a Donation Derby and competed two months in a row to see who could collect the most donations.

The time that Padbury absolutely dominated in the donation department.
The time that Padbury absolutely dominated in the donation department.

(We also may like a little bit of alliteration around here if the captions are anything to go by.)

The time that Mirrabooka made March magnificent.
The time that Mirrabooka made March magnificent.

This homegrown rivalry known as the Donation Derby then gave rise to the Point Rep Playoffs. On the 4th of October 2015 at Padbury Mosque, HFB – Perth will be hosting a packing competition between the two Collection Point Rep’s that brought the Donation Derby to life.

Will you be supporting #TeamNicole?

Or #TeamNomaan?

Come down and join us! All are welcome – check out the event page here!

Until next time,

Salaams from the Halal Food Bank – Perth Team 🙂

Food Rescue – To The Rescue!

Food Rescue – To The Rescue!
On  a glorious September morning, Maryam and Sabrah took a trip to Food Rescue.
Food Rescue are this amazing agency who rescue food from going to waste. They have asked supermarkets and cafes around Perth to put away the food they were going to throw away at the end of the day so their drivers can rescue it!
The Food Rescue team have 3 vans pick up donations from the major supermarkets in Perth. Collectively these vans can fit 2,000kg per trip. That’s a lot of food! 
They also have some funky looking carts that are used to pick up left over food from cafes in the Perth CBD. 
Image of Food Carts used by Food Rescue to collect food from participating cafes in the Perth CDB
Food Carts used to collect unsold sandwiches, wraps and rolls from participating cafes in Perth CBD.
The food that comes back to Food Rescue is in pretty good nick. The ones that aren’t are sorted out and sent for composting. The clever people at Food Rescue are even thinking up ways of making the compost work for them! How? I guess you’ll have to follow them to find out 🙂
The donations are sorted and redistributed as:
– Food boxes that are supplied to various charities around Perth.
– Veggie boxes for Schools that are part of the 5,000 meals project.
Food Rescue work with agencies such as Family Foundation who work with people living in their cars. The food rescued from cafes in Perth is used to provide ready made lunches for school going kids currently living in cars with their families. The total number of families living in this circumstance has jumped from 5 families a day to roughly 17. Lyndon, the Operations Manager advises that these are not all repeat customers either.
We were heartened to see that everything at the premise is donated. From the food vans to the walk in freezers. The Food Rescue project is proof that collectively we can make a huge difference.
Frame showing August's total hours and dollars donated
August 2015 was a record breaking month for the Food Rescue team. Check out these stats!
The programs the team at Food Rescue run are absolutely awe inspiring and a great use of surplus food. Ranging from food donation to outreach programs working with people to help them understand the value of nutrition and making better food choices for them and their families. You can follow the team via their Facebook page.

Zainab attends the Settlement Services Expo (March 2015)

In early March this year, I had the opportunity of attending the Settlement Services Expo run by the Department of Social Services. The expo showcased non-governmental organisations that offer settlement services for refugees and migrants arriving to Australia. Amongst the participants were MercyCare, Communicare, Edmund Rice Centre, Assetts, Save the Children, Ishar and the Metro Migrant Resource Centre.

Being involved with the Halal Food Bank – Perth (HFB), a project that provides assistance via monthly boxes of non-perishable food items, I learned a lot through the expo. What stood out to me was how so many organisations thrive in such a complementary existence to one another. From providing the services of education and mentoring, housing and accommodation, health and wellbeing as well as employment assistance programs, all resembled pieces of a puzzle that fit together perfectly in the grand scheme of the Australian welfare system.

Having these organisations together on the day exemplified the importance of partnership and collaboration. With funding limitations set by the government for the next couple of years, cementing partnerships and encouraging collaboration increases the quality and efficiency of welfare services – services that are critical for the vulnerable and marginalised in our society. Something that really stuck with me was when one of the attendees mentioned that 5 out of the 9 billionaires in Australia came here as refugees.

I just thought to myself, can we really ignore the refugee crisis at our doorstep? Not just because of the economic imperative, but who knows what someone is capable of achieving given the right circumstances? Services provided today are enabling a better future for not just the person, but the entire community.

However, coming from the HFB, which works to address the risk factor of food security, it was interesting to note that this particular subject was not brought up during the expo. Food security is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, as “all people having access to safe and nutritious food at all times”– something that many worldwide, as well as right here in Perth, simply do not have.

While related to the other topics presented this immediate risk factor, constantly growing in demand and having welfare agencies turning people away due to a lack of resources, was sadly not given its due time in the open forum.

I believe there is a dire need for dialogue and education when it comes to food security in Australia. Personally, many of the people that I have encountered while working with the HFB have expressed astonishment that there is even a need for food banks in a country perceived to be so affluent. Citing things such as Centrelink and creating comparisons with impoverished nations overseas that are highly publicised in our media, a lot of disbelief still surrounds the fact that many Australians live day-to-day without any idea of when the next meal will come.

There are three key components of food insecurity: inadequate access to food, inadequate supply and the inappropriate use of food (e.g., inappropriate preperation of food). The prevalence of food insecurity amongst the Australian population is estimated at 5% (Burns, 2004).

“Food insecurity in Australia: What is it, who experiences it and how can child and family services support families experiencing it?”
Kate Rosier, August 2011 [Weblink]

The topic is far from being black and white. Food insecurity is increased amongst renters, single parent and bigger households, with factors such as the rising cost of housing and living and the inability to secure a stable income leading to financial problems that, unfortunately, often become long-term. Living with food insecurity is highly subjective – particular to every person and family, creating varying shades of grey painting the picture of what it looks like to be an Australian living in poverty.

Volunteering with the HFB, it’s a constant reminder that the necessity still exists. Consistently, every month I witness volunteers from all over Perth gather to stack shelves, pack and deliver boxes to the service agencies we collaborate with for distribution. And while the provision of these boxes works only as short-term assistance and doesn’t directly address many of the underlying problems that lead to food insecurity, I am optimistic that there are solutions under the guise of partnership, collaboration and unity between service organisations: a reality exemplified at the Settlement Services Expo.

About the Author: Zainab is a long standing volunteer with the Halal Food Bank – Perth project. She has recently graduated with a Masters in Public Health from UWA where she used to manage a collection point for HFB. Zainab is currently working for the Cancer Council.