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Helping Asylum Seekers with CARAD’s Food Bank

28 March 2018

I first heard about the Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD) last year, while being involved with a philanthropic group, Impact100 WA.

I was very moved by the work they do, and I put my hand up to help. I also attended one of their Volunteer Information Sessions to find out more about the organisation and how I could help… and I was hooked!

They sounded like an amazing group, doing super-amazing things that really helped people in need.

I had already donated money. But I wanted to help in a practical way.

I found out that their Food Bank Program was a great and positive way to help asylum seekers in our coummunity.

So I thought I’d share it with everyone!

CARAD Food Bank Program

This is CARAD Headquarters, 245 Stirling Street in Perth.

They are an independent, not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to providing specialised welfare and advocacy assistance to asylum seekers, refugees and detainees in Western Australia.

Many of CARAD’s clients do not have the right to work and are ineligible for financial support. Some have to wait months or years until they become eligible.

So the CARAD team runs Case Management Programs (Foodbank, Emergency Relief Services, Accommodation Assistance and No Interest Loans) which provide basic needs for asylum seekers experiencing financial hardship, with little or no income.

CARAD Food Bank Program

The Food Bank Program runs twice a week, at an allocated time, where registered CARAD clients (asylum seekers) can access fresh fruit and vegetables, pantry items, and items such as nappies and blankets.

It helps them with their weekly groceries and supplements their limited weekly budgets.

I popped into CARAD to see how it all works.

The Food Rescue truck arrived early, with boxes of donated fresh produce.

CARAD Food Bank Program

The CARAD Office exploded into action and activity!

Volunteers helped to unpack the truck and laid out the produce for the clients.

CARAD Food Bank Program

A volunteer picked up some bread, kindly donated by Loafers Artisan Bread.

They looked so good!

CARAD Food Bank Program

The pantry was all ready for CARAD clients to access (after having been pre-stocked by more volunteers).

Interestingly, they don’t put together “Food Relief Boxes” or “Pre-Assembled Hampers”.

They find that allowing the clients to choose and take what they need, much like in a shop, is a far more dignifying and practical way to support them.

CARAD Food Bank Program

Also, I was surprised to discover that all the pantry items stocked here are from personal donations.

They are not from supermarkets, not bulk delivered, and they do not come from other collection organisations (such as Food Rescue). They come from everyday people like me!

They don’t have much room in their office, but they make it all fit. Most of the time, donated items come in and go out the same day. And they are ALWAYS looking for those high demand items.

 

CARAD have an excellent WAYS TO DONATE page on their website.

Here are some ways:

1) Financial Donation. You can donate online, simply follow the links from this page.

2) Donate items to their Food Bank Program. CARAD have a list of all the items they need, highlighting some of the more urgent items that are low in stock – this list is constantly updated! So check in regularly.

All donations can be delivered to the office, 245 Stirling Street, Perth, Monday to Friday between 9am – 4pm.

3) Gift Vouchers. Buy a $20, $50 or $100 gift card voucher next time you are in Coles, Woolworths, Kmart, BigW or Target. These are a really helpful resource for the clients, allowing choice in what they purchase.

If you can’t drive over to the CARAD office to deliver it, pop it into an envelope and snail mail it (245 Stirling Street, Perth 6000)!

4) Online Shopping Delivery. Gosh how easy is this? Put together an online order and have it delivered straight to their office! Online shop orders can be delivered to CARAD (245 Stirling Street, Perth 6000) from Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm.

5) Give your time. If you’re keen to volunteer head over to this page to find out how to become a volunteer.

CARAD Food Bank Program

This is my contribution for today! I couldn’t visit empty handed :)

I looked up their list of low stock items here and bought a few items during my weekly grocery shop. This box was about $50 worth of stuff. It was all too easy.

My kids wondered why I was buying all the extra bits and pieces, and I told them. It was a great conversation starter and a great way to get kids involved with giving, being educated and doing something practical for others.

Anyway, I hope this has inspired you in some way, or opened your eyes, or even just educated you a little (my little visit was very educational!)… and show you that anyone can help in a small way to make a positive impact on the community.

A big thank you to the CARAD staff for letting me poke around their office!