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Three Mills Bakery X Anglicare

Over the coming months, we’re looking forward to sharing with you the stories of wonderful people who work, volunteer and use the services at Anglicare.

To kick off the series we’re thrilled to introduce Rachael, Anglicare ACT Emergency Relief Coordinator.

“I think back to when I was a child and my mum was always doing things in the community or my nanna, she was out every day of her life doing something in the community, and it never occurred to me that it had a name –  volunteering, because we never used that term back then, it’s just what people did. 

I explored a lot of things through volunteering. You start with one volunteering job and it opens your eyes to the whole world and it’s amazingly rewarding and so much of Anglicare’s work is done by volunteers. A position came up as a part time assistant in one of Anglicare’s retail shops, I thought that’s a great first step to a career in community services. After being in Anglicare retail for a while, a position came up in emergency relief and it’s this current one I have. 

I’m very focused on the emergency relief space, which is one of the smaller spaces in Anglicare but that doesn’t mean that it’s less important. It’s providing someone with emergency food relief to get them through a very short period. So you’re not aiming to set someone up for an entire month, you are providing them with essential food to get them and their family through 3 or 4 days. 

The vast majority of people that come for help are people who could be your neighbours, families that you see at school, people that you work with because many of them do have jobs, but they are struggling. Sometimes it’s a very short term reason like perhaps there has been an unusual amount of bills this month and suddenly you can’t pay your rent, and sometimes it can be something that is much more long lasting, that’s what we’ve discovered is increasing since the start of the pandemic. The price of food is going up, and the price of petrol at the moment. We are finding that before people would come in once or twice and then we’d never see them again. Now we have so many clients that we’ve been seeing every month for the last 2 years.

One of the things I was told when I first started this role, emergency relief should just be a short term thing but I know in 2022 that’s not the reality. More and more families are finding it hard to make ends meet and that’s where we as Anglicare have to be a voice and advocate for change.  

The more challenging and interesting aspects of my position is where I’m given a certain degree of freedom to value add to our emergency relief services. Looking at other opportunities, where we can offer that social aspect to our clients. So yes they might come in for a bag of food for this week but if it’s quite clear that they would like to stay, or come back next week just to talk, or play a board game, or for morning tea. That was the value adding plan but then of course covid hit. Despite all the restrictions, We continued to provide people with food and continued to ask them if they needed further assistance but what we couldn’t do was those smaller social gatherings. That’s what I really regret, I mean I can’t have regrets like that as the number one priority was to keep people safe, but I’m really hoping this is the year that we can get back to the plan. 

As unrealistic as it is, my personal goal or dream is that one day I’m told that I don’t have a job anymore, as I’m not needed, but that’s not going to happen unfortunately. There will always be a need for the kind of work that I do, and there will always be a need for organisations like Anglicare.”

Together with Anglicare, we’ve curated a selection of products that will provide nourishing meals and delicious treats for people who really need it. If you would like to donate, follow the link below. We’ll be matching every donation!