Caring for the community

Shirley Keven has been a volunteer for 10 years.

Stefan Bradley

Loch Sport Community Care have stepped up to assist residents in Loch Sport, Golden Beach, Paradise Beach, Seaspray and The Honeysuckles affected by the Omicron surge with bags of essential items for contactless pickup or delivery.

Those who have a CRN or DVA number can receive a bag of groceries plus some fruit and vegetables of their choosing in exchange for $10.

Those who cannot afford can get it for free.

Board member Phil Stephens says that in response to Omicron, local residents who have to isolate due to COVID will also get a bag for free.

“All they have to do is contact us,” Mr Stephens said, “we got six board members who run the facility who can talk.”

“The bags probably have about $30 or $40 worth of stuff in them.

“Add the fruit and veg, you probably have about $50 to $60 worth of product.”

Mr Stephens said that the Loch Sport community had been largely untouched by COVID-19, but then the Omicron variant arrived.

“Everyone’s feeling paranoid,” Mr Stephens said.

“It’s only been since Christmas that we’ve had a COVID situation in town.

“Everyone’s making sure they’re wearing a mask, they’re sanitising, sometimes they ring in advance to make sure they can drive through quickly or request home deliveries.

“We’ve done a delivery to a pregnant lady and to older people who rely on home support services and they just can’t get out.

“I know personally of six people who got COVID, they’re housebound and we deliver to them.”

Clients park at the building and stay in their car wearing their mask while the volunteers place the food in the boot and exchange a pleasant socially distanced outdoors conversation.

“We wouldn’t be able to operate without the volunteers,” Mr Stephens said.

“They are on call when we get a big delivery to help for an hour to put the food away and in the fridges and freezers.

“Then they come back on the Thursday and Friday to work for the four hours.”

Glenys Stephens is Phil’s wife and the treasurer at Loch Sport Community Care, and said that the food donations they receive have been essential.

“Christmas is always a busy period, but thanks to Foodbank we were able to give 96 clients a ham, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and a litre of custard,” Ms Stephens said.

“And everyone was so appreciative of that, it’s a Christmas present from us.”

“Our client base over the Christmas period is between 60-80 people, but when we get into the business season, it’s over 110,” Mr Stephens said.

He said they’ve also received help in the form of grants.

“Esso Australia gave us a $30,000 grant. We’ve been able to do some extensions to the building and also buy a ute and the two big fridge and freezer,” Mr Stephens said.

“And a six metre long awning out the front to give our clients a bit more shade.”

Secondbite, ALDI, Foodbank, FoodWorks and kind residents regularly provide food for Loch Sport Community Care.

“FoodBank is our major supplier, they deliver once a week,” Mr Stephens said.

Mr Stephens said that Perry Bridge Farm Fresh Produce had been fantastic in helping with the food shortages experienced in the town.

“We went up there with a ute load of stock and we got it for less than wholesale. That’s twice they’ve helped us out with stock,” Mr Stephens said.

“We help out the pub, the bowls club and the RSL if we have surplus stock.

“The whole community is pulling together.”

Loch Sport Community Care is open Thursdays and Fridays 10am-1pm on 101 National Park Rd.

Those who wish to donate, volunteer or obtain a bag of essentials can contact Ms Stephens on 0437 529 411.