The community spirit is strong in Lake Mac
COVID-19 might have kept people at literal arm’s length from each other for the past few months, but it has also drawn the Lake Macquarie community closer together.
It’s an irony not lost on BaptistCare HopeStreet Windale Manager David Gibson, whose Hope Street outlet in the heart of the suburb has been busy handing out care packages to residents in need throughout the pandemic.
“I think people are noticing each other a bit more – checking in on their neighbours and showing concern for other people’s welfare,” Gibson says.
BaptistCare HopeStreet Windale is one of almost 30 local organisations to receive a grant under Lake Macquarie City Council’s $100,000 COVID-19 Community Funding Program, designed to aid the City’s economic and social recovery.
Mr Gibson says the $5000 grant his organisation received would help fund food vouchers for their in-house grocery store, as well as ‘winter warmer’ packs and other care packages to help people struggling to make ends meet.
“Without HopeStreet some of our clients would not eat,” he says.
“Many people in the community rely solely on our service for their basic essentials. But it is a community of loyalty, of people young and old who have their own individual stories of struggles and strength.
“It’s a community that still smiles and laughs in the worst of times, and appreciates the smallest of favours that comes our way.”
Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser says never in recent memory has the City faced so many challenges.
“These are difficult times for so many in our community,” she says.
“But at the same time, it is truly heartening to see the way people have come together to support each other.”
“Whether it’s neighbours helping neighbours with day-to-day chores or charities redoubling their efforts to reach as many people they can, the community spirit that binds us together here in Lake Mac has never been so strong.”
That is certainly the case at local Meals on Wheels branches, where small armies of volunteers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to deliver food to some of our most vulnerable residents.
Spokeswoman Danielle Parker says NSW Health recommendations for elderly and vulnerable people to stay home reinforced the crucial role of services like Meals on Wheels.
“In a time where our clients have been so restricted to home and more isolated than normal, our service has never been so important,” she says.
“For our clients, the social interaction with our volunteer delivery drivers is as important as the meal itself - even more so during this period of increased isolation.”
“We have been overwhelmed and humbled by the offer of support from our local community,” Parker says.