Community Development Worker at West End Community House (WECH), Kylie Deen, talks about how the WECH team is responding to a growing demand for food among the vulnerable in our community during the covid-19 health emergency.
Looking after our mob.
WECH might look a little different with the doors closed but Community Development Worker, Kylie Deen, said they are adapting, and there’s still a lot going on.
“There is non-stop high need at the moment from rough sleepers, people from boarding houses and hostels, and people living rough in the city – we have been flat-strap,” Kylie said.
All WECH staff are still on board, busy in the background taking donations and making up food and care packages for people to pick up from the new food pantry.
“WECH has been able to respond quickly to the needs of our mob because we can access community resources, build on our existing relationships, and because of our awesome local community,” Kylie said.
WECH is still very much available to support the community by phone. The WECH team wants people to keep connecting, and it is also has an important role as a source of information at this difficult time.
“People are still knocking at the door. I love seeing people coming through the door. This is the community’s house, we’re their family, this is where we connect, and have fun and laughter together,” Kylie said.
“But we are all now practicing physical distancing and we are adjusting to what that means for us all.”
Kylie said she has been hearing some wonderful stories of local kindness. She talked about one example of a man who was stuck in his car with his dog. Kylie phoned the nearby servo, and they fixed the man’s battery so that he was able to safely get away from the city.
New community pantry
Kylie said that WECH has created a community pantry to respond to the high need for food and other supplies.
“It was super fab that Sue, our awesome Art Gang facilitator, came in to help out as soon as we contacted her,” Kylie said.
“Sue put together the finishing touches to the WECH community pantry to give it a real West End feel.”
What’s in the Pantry?
WECH is putting food and care packages in the pantry for those that need it and is also accepting donations from the community directly into the pantry.
They are making two kinds of packs – one of which is specifically for people without access to heating facilities.
WECH is asking the community to support each other by donating a few extra essentials in their shopping trolley and dropping by the pantry on their way home. And after all, Community House is just around the corner from Coles on Norfolk Road.
“The amount of donations from the community have been awesome,” Kylie said, “How blessed are we in the middle of all this craziness?”
“We’re really looking for things like sanitary items, dry goods, long life and non-perishable foods, as well as frozen meals, yoghurts and fresh bread for people who need immediate support. Sandwich bags of all shapes and sizes too, so we can pack everything up.”
What can the community do to keep feeling connected?
WECH can be contacted by phone and will provide updates on social media. They will be putting up a list on their website and on social media in the next week so keep your eye out for more information.
But if in doubt, “just call,” Kylie said, and…
“Give what you can, take what you need.”
Where is West End Community House?
- Address: 4 Norfolk Rd West End
- Phone: (07) 3217 2333
Many thanks to Kylie Deen, Sophia Vassie, and Mel Hilditch.
Images in feature image supplied by West End Community House.