Volunteers making a difference in our community

The staff at CatholicCare Hunter-Manning work tirelessly to support those needing a hand-up in our community. In the last four years, CatholicCare’s Food Programs and Community Kitchens have served more than 85,000 hot and nutritious meals to those in need.

Meanwhile, the Refugee Hub has an average of 14 new families referred to it every month. As these programs receive no government funding, they simply would not be possible without the generosity of volunteers and donors.

Volunteers are the backbone of CatholicCare’s Community Programs, providing food, hospitality and friendship to those who have fallen on hard times. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in demand for CatholicCare’s services as more people find themselves struggling.

Community Kitchen Coordinator, Sue Abdoo said, “In March last year, a lot of emergency relief services were closing their shopfronts, and diners were worried that our kitchens would close.

“Our volunteers stepped up. The kitchens shifted from serving dine-in meals to takeaway options and the Community Kitchens were able to keep their doors open.”

CatholicCare volunteers aren’t only serving hot meals, but they are also helping educate and enhance the lives of refugees, asylum-seekers, and people from vulnerable migrant backgrounds.

Team Leader, Mirja Colding-Moran said, “Our Hub offers free weekly tutoring sessions for primary and secondary school students to support them in their learning, such as English and Maths.”

“We have dedicated volunteers who come in and assist the children and young people with their schoolwork.”

One of these volunteers is Maree Watts, who uses her skills to help vulnerable people write resumes, fill out papers, and study for citizenship exams.

"Volunteering at the Refugee Hub is an incredibly fulfilling experience,” she said. 

“The interactions I have with each person and the delight I see on each face as we work together to achieve something new, makes me know that I am helping to make some aspect of their life a little easier.”

As demand for CatholicCare’s programs increases, a new Community Kitchen will soon be opening at Maitland! To get it up and running, the team urgently needs more volunteers.

There are various roles available, including cooking, serving, collecting donations, setting up, or getting to know the diners. CatholicCare is also seeking a dedicated person to fill the Maitland Volunteer Team Leader role. If you’re keen to get involved, please get in touch via volunteers@catholiccare.org.au.

CatholicCare’s Community Programs depend not only on volunteers but also on donations from the community to support them in offering their services to those in need.

You can help CatholicCare feed more people in their community kitchens, support more refugees in their programs, and deliver more meals to people in need. Become a volunteer today, or if you can, please give a gift to our 2021 August Appeal today.  Visit www.mycause.com.au/page/251950/catholiccare-huntermanning-august-appeal.