Fighting the good fight

Fighting the good fight

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ADRA Cannington Community Garden volunteers Enshin Liew and Puna Rere prepared food parcel boxes for homeless last Friday. Photograph — Aaron Van Rongen.

Heather Stewart Johnson is more determined than ever to help homeless people.

Last year Ms Stewart told The Examiner she firmly believed the southern suburbs had a bigger issue of homelessness than councils were aware of.

Now, more than ever, the 73-year-old believes is important to prioritise vulnerable people to get them through the health crisis.

“My heart goes out to them.This pandemic has just made their lives a bit more difficult as many of the food programs have either closed or been severely restricted and many of their opportunities for socialisation have been destroyed,” she said.

“There has never been a better time to reach out to repair relationships and build on the ones you have.”

Ms Stewart, who now has to work from home, runs various activities for homeless people in the southern suburbs at the ADRA Cannington Community Garden beside the Seventh-day Adventist church.

ADRA project manager Heather Stewart Johnson is on a mission to help the homeless. Photograph — Aaron Van Rongen.

For more than six years the team at ADRA have delivered food parcels, run social gatherings and opened its doors to people doing it tough at the community garden.

However, the team is now struggling to find enough supply due to the current food shopping restrictions and vast demands online.

“Most of our food comes through donations from second bite, but when we have gaps in basic needs we will go to stores and buy stuff to fill those needs,” Ms Stewart said.

“But now with limitations on how much we can buy, we are finding it more difficult to get canned goods and non-perishable goods to put into the food parcels.

“The current council is moving on a lot of different actions to support the vulnerable at the moment.

“They are supporting the food distribution networks and they are looking at a range of options and are open to suggestions which might help us.”

In the light of the pandemic, many volunteers have also decided to avoid helping in the community garden, which has affected ADRA’s daily operations.

“Prior to the current restrictions we had volunteers and work for the dole people coming in to help with the work,” she said.

“Now we are down to a maintenance team of two, Andi Benson and Germain, who are continuing with the planting of new veggies, watering, making compost and replenishing beds, and doing what weeding needs to be done.

“I am also planting seeds and taking care of the seedlings for the community garden and that is giving me purpose for the time being.”

Despite the lack of supply and volunteers, Ms Stewart and the team will continue operating and offering food parcel boxes to those in need.

Food parcel boxes are ready for pick up after 11.30am on Fridays.

For more information contact Andi on 123-456-7890 or email andi@chilitemple.com