The Canberra community has again shown its calibre when it comes to helping neighbours in need, with businesses and local leaders banding together to supply $15,000 of fresh produce and meat to large multicultural families in quarantine.
Deputy Opposition Leader Giulia Jones put in the call to Andrew Dale from the G-Spot in Gungahlin, asking for help and support.
Not even a week later, Andrew and his suppliers Go Troppo Fruit Market and Longpark Meats were working with the not-for-profit Picking Up The Peaces to deliver four large boxes to each family.
Go Troppo and Longpark Meats supplied the fresh fruit, veggies and meat at cost price and the charity coordinated the donations.
All the distribution and packing was done by community members who wanted to help.
Mr Dale told Region Media that it was an easy job for a group of people who came together to help out “for no other reason than because they can”.
“It was good fun helping people,” he said. “We all did what we did because we wanted to.”
“Every single cent went where it needed to go.”
Chair of the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum, Chin Wong, welcomed the deliveries, saying she had been asking the government to deliver fresh ingredients to large families at home who are still able to cook.
“We have been saying we are at home, we can cook the food, it is more economical that way too,” Ms Wong told Region Media.
“In general, multicultural communities have set up (support programs) because they know where to get their own culturally appropriate food.
“One community has tried hard to organise online ordering and suppliers to deliver to their doorstep.”
Ms Wong acknowledged the difficulty large multicultural households face during lockdown, especially those that have multiple families and up to 10 people under one roof.
“With a large house, there is a risk that someone who is a contact or has the virus brings it back and the whole house has to quarantine,” she said.
“With the lockdown, it can then be difficult when you run out of food to provide for everyone.”
Ms Jones said she decided to help out after being approached by leaders from multicultural communities asking for support.
“They were already doing so much for those in need and just needed some extra help,” she said.
“I thought, I’m sure there are people in our community who would want to back them up, so I started having conversations and it led to this.”
The start of the lockdown brought concerns about where vulnerable Canberrans who were not able to work or leave the house would be able to access fresh and affordable food.
But community members like Gary Malhotra and YWCA Canberra have all put their hand up to help with both meal preparations and delivery.
Mr Malhotra’s kitchen, which now has an almost cult-like following in Canberra, is delivering thousands of meals every day and has around a dozen chefs in the kitchen, cooking 6 am to 8 pm.