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Food 4 Life changed my life

Food 4 Life changed my life

By Lauren Martin

After pouring their life savings into their modest, new home, Dawn (pictured right) really struggled to make ends meet when her husband died. A great-grandmother, but still supporting her mentally ill son at home, Dawn found hope when she turned to The Salvation Army in Miller, south-west Sydney. She told her story to Others online.

As a child, I actually was involved with the Salvos up in Queensland. I remember the tambourines and the flags, but that’s about all. I must have been very young; I think it was a Sunday school. I didn’t know that somewhere along the line I would be involved with them again!

I live with my son. My husband passed away nearly two years ago now. He had cancer. Now my husband’s gone I’m only getting a single pension. It is hard and it’s getting harder. I keep getting bills saying they’re putting $2 on this and $1 on that.

I read about The Salvation Army’s Miller Food 4 Life market in the local paper and I went in there with a bit of apprehension, wondering what it was all about. I met a nice group of people in there and I thought, “Gee, this is wonderful”, and I started going every Monday.

The market doesn’t have everything but, the thing is, it helps you save and get other things. I just have a bit more left to go and buy little things ... like, if I’m in the shopping centre and I see something on special at Aldi – it might be a cleaning thing or something useful for the house or whatever – I’ll go and buy it if I’ve got enough. Before, I couldn’t afford to do that.

I’m a volunteer at the Food 4 Life market now. I go on Monday and I pack because we get a lot of frozen food come in from Foodbank. I sit at a table with a knife and blue gloves and cut the boxes open and put the fish fingers, or whatever they may be – nuggets, fries – into lots of four or six or whatever is required. Then I put it in a basket, and then they take them and put it in the fridge. It’s become a big part of my life down there. It’s also good for me to get out. I go down there and I feel I’m doing something useful and helpful.

They’re the nicest group of people, everyone tries to help everyone else, you know? I was a Christian as a young person in Queensland but then as I had the children and moved to Sydney I just got away from church. I also got a job and I was working so we had a busy life.

Now every Sunday I go to the church service and I’ve become a Christian again. I’ve become more caring I think, yes, more caring and compassionate. The people at The Salvation Army have changed my life. If ever I moved I would miss them so much because I’ve made some lovely friends.

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