Last week Mark McDonnell, founder of Community Friends, was notified that he is a Fred Hollows Foundation humanitarian award recipient. This is the latest of numerous awards Mark has received in recognition of his humanitarian work.

Mark started Community Friends in West End in 2009, providing food to about sixty people. Some 13 years later, they are still going, and the team now supports over two hundred people weekly.


Community Friends provides food and other necessities each Wednesday in Bunyapa Park from 3.00 pm, and individual food hampers seven days a week.


Mark said demand grew significantly during COVID, doubling their numbers, and has remained high.


During the worst of the COVID lockdown, Community Friends distributed four hundred meals each week at Bunyapa Park, many to stranded overseas students who were without any government support. But the most vulnerable are also still with us.


Supplies come from Foodbank, FairShare, OzHarvest and Creative Cuisine. In addition, local Coles and Woolworths have collection boxes for Community Friends near the entrance to their stores and Share the Dignity supplies hygiene products.

Those lining up for food last Wednesday evening were a mixed group. Some are homeless or in social housing, with quite a gathering of young overseas backpackers. I spoke with new arrivals from Columbia, The Netherlands and France, who can take advantage of the free food on offer while they pass through Brisbane.


Community Friends will host a Christmas Day breakfast (7am start) and lunch in Bunyapa Park (68 Vulture St West End 4101) to celebrate Christmas this year.


How can you help?

Community Friends welcomes cash donations, meal and food donations, and other gifts.

Cash donations enable the team to purchase supplies. You can donate at the Community Friends Donation Page.

Banking details are:  BSB 124001, A/c No. 21808940, Bank of Queensland.


Volunteers welcome and assist those coming for food; often, volunteers are current or ex-clients.

If you want to help, contact Jimmy (0418 452 067) or Mark (0418 754 900) or pop along one Wednesday afternoon.

Check out the Community Friends Facebook site for regular newsletters and stories.

Related Story

Community Friends and the Butterfly Effect

Cover image supplied, all other images by Jan Bowman