In mid May 2020 we became aware that there were many overseas students that are having trouble staying well, staying fed and coping in this time of need. We were fortunate to hear about Branding Bangladesh that is a voluntary group helping overseas students by providing meals. They were working out of the Nargis Indian & Kebab restaurant in Lakemba. As of the end of May 2020 they have provided over 11,000 meals to students living in South Western Sydney. We were pleased to be able to help them out with a modest donation that will help fund a day’s meals … Our Secretary, Syed had the pleasure of visiting them and presenting our donation.
This initial action prompted us to contact Western Sydney University with the aim of finding out if any students at the Campbelltown Campus were in difficulty as a result of COVID19. We were invited to a meeting with the General Manager of Western Sydney University Village and the University’s Chaplaincy Coordinator. We quickly found out that there were 40 students spread across 6 WSU campuses around Sydney.
We undertook to commence supporting 3 students at Bankstown and 9 at Campbelltown Campuses that were suffering hardship and were having difficulty feeding themselves.
With the help of our District Governor we were able to arrange for some local support from other Rotary Clubs in the district to support the other campuses.
Within a week we had contacted the South West Multicultural and Community Centre (SWMACC) at Minto and joined their food support program. Their programs give us access to weekly food hampers that provide a range of fruit and vegetables, and other staples that we pickup each Tuesday. On Wednesdays we pick up a further hamper for each student, These hampers are the result of a partnership between Young Spirit Mentoring, Second Bite and SWMACC.
We have been running this program for over three months now. We have delivered over 200 hampers and are now supporting up to 15 Students’ each week. The numbers change from week to week as the student’s circumstances change. The program is hugely rewarding and is a tangible way for us to help out those in need during the pandemic.