Feeding Friends no more

Feeding Friends (FF) is closing after two years of helping those on struggle street, with organisers saying they are simply burnt out.

It’s a story repeated across an increasing number of volunteer organisations as few new volunteers step forward.

FF was launched in Broken Hill by Don Barron and Kellie Novello two years ago, with the initial fairly simple aim of ensuring those sleeping rough could access a regular hot meal.

But FF soon became much more, much bigger. They played a larger role in the community, lobbying for those seeking crisis support, particularly when it came to issues of food insecurity.

They also lobbied Broken Hill City Council and the state government on a range of issues affecting their clients, and established a well-working roster of local food businesses, other charities, and volunteers; who all took part in an impressive effort to feed those living on the streets seven nights a week.

“In the two years Kellie and I have run Feeding Friends, there’s been so much work put into the group by not only us, but so many other people.”

Those efforts not only included volunteering their time, but in many cases, volunteers donated their own food, money, and fuel to ensure Feeding Friends could service the growing numbers of people on its books.

“We’re all putting in so much, especially if we have times when donations are running low,” Mr Barron noted.

Dave Trinder from the Astra and wife Maryanne regularly supported FF by donating meals to the service.

“It is regretful but understandable that Feeding Friends have decided to call it a day after two years and 12,000 meals,” Mr Trinder told the Barrier Truth.

“Don, Kel and the team are to be applauded for their commitment and sacrifice at the expense of their own personal lives and families,” he added.

Describing it as ‘a privilege’ to have supported the organisation, he added, “we are optimistic the Broken Hill community is compassionate and will continue to involve and invest themselves and continue through different outlets to fulfil the vision of Feeding Friends in providing a meal.”

Many local businesses privately and quietly support those doing it tough in our community and much of that is down to the advocacy of Feeding Friend.

“It is with deep gratitude on behalf of the community we thank them for their service and the light they have been to our community over the two years,” Mr Trinder said.

As for any surplus property and goods Feeding Friends holds, Mr Barron said it would be handed over to the local branch of the Salvation Army.

Majors Kevin and Sugu Meredith, from the Salvos, told the Truth, “our team was sad to learn that Feeding Friends was concluding its service in the town, and we have greatly appreciated Don and Kellie’s commitment over the time they operated.”

The Salvos plan to continue the Feeding Friends’ legacy, with their Broken Hill Adults and Families Homelessness Support Service continuing to operate, alongside their Secondbite/Doorways (emergency food support) initiative.

Both of those services are based at the Salvation Army Hall, 196 Wolfram St.

“A men’s breakfast is held on the first Saturday of the month, 8am to 9.30am, from February to December at the Salvos and Vinnies continues to run its breakfast service Monday to Friday from its centre in Argent St,” Major Kevin said.

“We will consider how we can assist homeless individuals with meals or food.”

“We really made an effort to bring homelessness and food insecurity to everyone’s mind, including local and state governments, and also to show the everyday Joe that it can happen to anyone for any reason,” Mr Barron said.


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