“They’ve got nowhere to go and they’re hungry. We’ve never seen a crisis like this.”
What happens when a community already more disadvantaged than most is hit by a natural disaster? In this story from the frontline, Silvana, a volunteer cook from one of Foodbank’s Member Charities, shares her reflections on her town’s worst crisis in living memory.
When devastating floods hit Caboolture, many people were already barely keeping afloat. There was the rising cost of living, along with job losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Rent and house prices had also skyrocketed, even pushing some people into homelessness.
Silvana is a volunteer cook at Foodbank’s Member Charity, Caboolture Community Action. Before the floods, up to 200 people living with disadvantage would come to her for free hot meals every week to keep their hunger at bay. She and the other volunteers would also pack and deliver hampers to families struggling to keep food on the table.
When the flood came, it amplified the adversity like never before. The flood waters damaged homes and threatened lives. And after the water receded, many people discovered their homes were now inhabitable. All their possessions – including food – had been destroyed. Few people were left untouched.
“The floods have affected people from all walks of life. We’ve had people coming to us hungry who were well off before. One lovely family came in after the floods. The mum and dad had jobs and the kids were doing well in school. But they’d lost everything and were now living in their car.” – Silvana
To make things worse, the charity’s op shop that helps fund the food and essentials, had flooded. It had to close, so there was little money to run the food service.
“People were coming to us saying ‘I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten today. I haven’t had a hot meal. Could you please heat us something up?’ It was heartbreaking.” – Silvana
At this overwhelming time, a lifeline came. Because of your generous donations to the Foodbank Queensland Flood Appeal, we were able to provide Caboolture Community Action with additional emergency food. It was such a relief for Silvana and her colleagues to know they could keep those people most in need fed, so they could focus on the mop up and rebuilding their lives.
Foodbank provided Silvana and the team with key staples like rice, pasta, baked beans and other canned foods and UHT milk, as well as ready-to-eat frozen casseroles and curries for flood-affected locals to microwave and eat at their emergency accommodation. Caboolture Community Action were now able to pack more crisis hampers, which people gratefully received.
“It’s a sad and happy time. Sad because these people were already struggling to pay the rent, and now they’ve lost everything, including their furniture and bedding. But happy because we are able to go out and provide some comfort, giving them hot meals, a hamper, a hug and a conversation.” – Silvana
Silvana wants Foodbank’s supports to know how thankful the Caboolture Community Action team are of the support provided to their community when it was severely impacted by flooding.
“Caboolture Community Action began as a small barbeque in the park for the homeless and now we are providing over 20,000 meals and hampers a year. I feel grateful, thankful and blessed that Foodbank’s donors are helping us support our fellow community members who are living with severe hardship.” – Silvana
Your generosity helps Foodbank provide emergency food and groceries to frontline charities across the state, like Caboolture Community Action, to help local families get back on their feet.
Every $1 you donate provides two nutritious meals to someone facing hunger. Thank you for making a difference.
If you are a Queensland charity, Foodbank Queensland membership is a great way to support your food relief projects, offering your organisation a reliable source of food and groceries all year round.
If you are in a position to help Foodbank Queensland provide more food across the state to support Queenslanders in need, please consider joining the fight against hunger as a regular giver.