Many workplaces are quick to promote their contribution to positive social impact via their digital channels but I often wonder how many actually implement this sentiment into everyday work life.
One of the key factors that drove me to apply for my role at Luminary was the element of genuine care. Luminary is truly an organisation that wants to make the world a better place in some way, shape or form. This quickly became apparent in the fantastic not-for-profit clients and enriching discovery projects that I’ve had the pleasure of working on for the past few months. Not only this, but a caring staff culture that supports one another during what can only be described as a very grim moment in time for Melbourne.
Part of this wonderful culture means that Luminary team members are entitled to – and encouraged to take – a full day of paid leave every calendar year to participate in volunteer work. This year, a group of us spent the day volunteering at Foodbank Victoria. Foodbank Victoria is the largest hunger relief charity in Australia. It is the pantry to the charity sector, linking surplus food and groceries to people who need it most.
When we arrived at the location, which is situated in Footscray, I was utterly amazed at how huge the operation was. The warehouse itself was enormous, filled with full-time workers and volunteers. We had a quick welcome and briefing session then changed into our very fashionable steel capped boots and high-vis jackets. Our lovely and helpful volunteer manager Mike, gave us a quick tour of the warehouse and put us to work with our order forms. We were separated into pairs and handed order forms for different community groups such as The Salvation Army, Uniting church etc. We were then equipped with pallets and what I can only describe as ‘pallet pushers’ and off we went packing heaps of food and hygiene products for people in need.
Through its well established partnerships Foodbank is able to stretch every dollar donated into even more food; nationally on average it is able to turn every $1 donated into the equivalent of $5.16 worth of food to distribute to those in need.
The variety and quantity of food items it had in stock was really quite incredible. We spent most of the day lifting and packing the pallets. I’d love to say my lockdown life has me doing all sorts of exercise each day and I’ve gotten extremely fit but unfortunately this hasn’t been the case. Therefore packing the likes of 20 trays of sugar and 25 trays of pasta sauce onto our pallet was quite the workout! It really made me appreciate the hard work and manual labour that volunteers are doing there on a regular basis!
The Luminary team moved so quickly and efficiently that Mike had to go and ask for more orders. Not that we were showing off or anything...
Once we had finished our work, we were told that the Luminary team alone had packaged food for over 30 charities which is equivalent to roughly 27,000 meals for families in need. I genuinely couldn’t believe the impact a small group of people could make in only a few hours.
2021 has almost been a harder year than 2020 for many and I cannot begin to imagine the struggle of families who are relying on Foodbank Victoria for their meals. To be able to contribute a day of my time to ensure families can get their food easily and quickly really meant a lot. It really was a rewarding experience, especially given current restrictions throughout Australia. There’s never been a more important time to give to others and be kind. Check out the amazing work Foodbank Victoria does here and get involved!
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