Food with heart: A morning at Sacred Heart Mission

Sacred Heart

One of the great things about working at EnergyAustralia is the support for our people to spend two volunteering days a year helping our charity partners. Whether you go as an individual or with your team, it’s an excellent way to give back to the community in a meaningful, hands-on way, and support people who are vulnerable or less fortunate than ourselves.

Pandemic’s impact on charity work

Due to the pandemic throughout 2020, EnergyAustralia people had limited opportunities to help our charity partners. On-site volunteering is now back, with some adjustments to how it works, including limits on numbers and the ability to gather in groups.

On pre-COVID volunteering days at Sacred Heart Mission, we’ve been assigned a range of jobs: prepare and serve meals in the Dining Hall, work the bain-marie, chop vegetables, do the dirty dish run or work in the op-shop on Grey Street. These all require an induction once you arrive at Sacred Heart Mission from one of the friendly volunteer coordinators.

Now, the meals are distributed in individual packs to clients to take away, rather than dining inside – due to a combination of contact tracing limitations and social distancing requirements.* This means the induction on this day was much shorter and we were assigned the food prepping task.

From induction to action

On this day, the food being prepared and distributed included:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Sliced bread and butter
  • Muesli bar
  • Bottle of water
  • Hot food items (sausages and vegetables)
  • Tea or coffee
  • Homemade soup

All the items were carefully distributed in recyclable packaging and with appropriate cutlery for clients’ convenience.

For this volunteer, it was a very different experience compared to previous volunteer days. The sound of the clients coming in, chatting as they ate, or interacting with volunteers was sorely missed - a reminder of how much the pandemic has affected everyday life.

Once the shift is finished, it’s time to go home or back to work, while the permanent team of Sacred Heart staff and volunteers get ready for the next day – whether it’s food prepping, sorting through donations or meal planning for the week.

Food for thought

It’s fantastic that Sacred Heart Mission has been able to adapt their service to allow it to continue to serve the community and for corporate volunteers to be able to safely return.

And EnergyAustralia people are thankful to work for a company that encourages us to take time away from work to help others. Since our volunteering program started in 2018, EnergyAustralia employees have donated over 10,000 hours to assist our charity partners deliver vital community services.

Volunteers who do take the time to help always leave grateful for the opportunity, and perhaps reflect on the privilege in their own lives, and how precious an opportunity it is to give back to those in need.

More importantly the dedicated staff and volunteers who show up every day of the year to help and support those in need deserve the biggest thanks of all, for the vital work they do.

*All EnergyAustralia charity partners operate under strict COVID-Safe plans to ensure the safety of volunteers and clients. Our charity partners are currently Sacred Heart Mission, Foodbank Victoria, The Australian Business Community Network, St Kilda Mums and Geelong Mums, Conservation Volunteers Australia and Very Special Kids.