Canberra spirit delivers for those in need

By Megan Doherty
A delivery is made to a Canberra family this week. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

The lockdown is showing Canberra's famous generosity and community spirit are stronger than ever.

The YMCA Canberra Region has teamed up with the Canberra PCYC, Walt and Burley and No Biggie Meals over the last two weeks to supply and deliver meals to families in need and also craft activity packs to children isolated in lockdown.

Y Canberra Region community engagement manager Sam Duffy-Yates said 240 meals were delivered in the first week and in the last week, more than 800 have been delivered across Canberra.

"And we're hoping to extend that above 1000 per week and continue this indefinitely as long as there is a need," she said.

Kingston Foreshore pub Walt and Burley is making the food, including curries and pasta. Pictures: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Kingston Foreshore pub Walt and Burley are making the meals, facilitated by No Biggie Meals which provides the platform for orders. The YMCA and PCYC are using their networks to make sure the meals and care packages get to people in need, many of whom were in crisis even before the lockdown or else have been under pressure since it came into force.

"It's people who can't work and it's people who are in domestic hardship in the lockdown," Ms Duffy-Yates said.

When the meals and craft packs were received, the reaction from families and children was "pretty overwhelming".

"There's just so much gratitude," she said. "People have shared photos of their children eating the bolognese. They're just so incredibly grateful to have this.

"And the craft packs, just to have something to do. We've had a lot of people just reaching out and bring incredibly grateful."

The meals are being financed by community donations - $7 will buy a meal.

Y Canberra Region CEO Torrien Lau said it was determined to help.

"People experiencing hardship are receiving something that they need, staff are excited about doing things with real meaning and values-driven organisations are sharing resources - what a great outcome for the community," he said.

Ms Duffy-Yates said the meals would "continue as long as we can, as long as the community around us is able to give".

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