Easter is a time when we are encouraged to think about new beginnings. At my Foundation we’ve been doing just that, in spite of the pandemic. We’ve developed fresh new ways to feed increasing numbers of hungry Sydneysiders. In fact, it’s enabled us to cater for what has been an unprecedented demand for emergency food relief.
Thanks to the support of people just like you we’re feeding more hungry people than ever before. The Rev. Bill Crews Foundation has distributed over 1.1 million meals during the pandemic. That is up 149% on pre-pandemic levels.
It is a clear indication that in spite of government support, many Sydneysiders have been unable to make ends meet. Before the pandemic we would typically see rough sleepers and people struggling on NewStart. Now we’re also seeing large numbers of people who’ve been laid off because of the pandemic, not to mention a growing underclass of the working poor.
Me and my team have been feeding the hungry for 35 years. However, to cater for the startling rise in demand during the pandemic we have had to dramatically scale-up our operations.
Our fleet of food vans has now expanded and delivers meals to the hungry at fourteen different locations across Sydney. Before the pandemic three locations were sufficient to meet the need.
Also, we’ve established two brand new, free restaurants for the needy – one in Liverpool and the other in Campbelltown. That’s in addition to our iconic Loaves & Fishes Free Restaurant in Ashfield.
My words here can’t begin to impart the positive impact all this has had on so many battlers. Not to mention the sense of hope and encouragement it has delivered as well.
To feed all these extra hungry people we have been forced to renovate and enlarge our already expansive kitchen. Indeed, with demand still rising my Foundation faces the prospect of having to further enlarge those kitchen facilities. If we have to do it, we will. I’ve always prided myself on never turning away anyone in need.
My Foundation has also recorded a sharp rise in demand for our emergency food parcels. These food parcels include basic items like bread, pasta, tinned fish, noodles and long-life milk.
Since the onset of the pandemic my Foundation has given 23,325 food parcels – valued at almost $700,000 – to needy families. That represents a 504% rise in the number of food parcels compared to pre-pandemic levels.
These numbers are both unprecedented and sobering. Sadly, I believe the sharp rise in demand for food relief reflects a growing trend where the poor are getting poorer, albeit exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic.
Meeting this demand has not been easy. In fact, without the support of people just like you it would have been impossible. Thanks to that we have been able to feed and care for the rapidly growing number of homeless and hungry Sydneysiders.
So it seems apt to say that in the spirit of Easter my Foundation has been rejuvenated, rising to the challenge. I’m proud of that, but also humbled too. I appreciate the trust you put in me and my team, which is why we are striving to feed as many people as we can.
That’s why I’m asking you to donate this Easter. Right now the need is greater than ever and it is growing, but I can only feed the hungry with your support. If you give, it will ensure a family in Bidwill can eat tonight. It will mean a homeless man in Woolloomooloo is nourished and cared for. It will put a food parcel on the table of a single mum in Liverpool. So please give generously.
Happy Easter and God bless
Rev. Bill Crews