Brethren charity, the Rapid Relief Team, have delivered over 7,000 Food Boxes to homes right around Australia since early March.
The RRT Food Box initiative was launched in 2019 and was designed to support families and individuals impacted by domestic violence, and people in crisis.
But once COVID-19 hit and states around Australia went into lockdown, RRT was forced to come up with new and innovative ways to get emergency food supplies to local communities in need.
The Food Box initiative was extended to vulnerable individuals and families including those in self-isolation, financially impacted by the shutdowns or unemployed, the elderly or people living with health impairments who were high risk of contracting the virus or those struggling to access basic food supplies.
Due to the safety concerns around COVID-19, RRT also developed an innovative ‘uber-style’ app, which enabled faster and safer delivery of the Food Boxes with this use of technology.
RRT Operations Manager Dan Alderton said the RRT Food Box initiative during COVID-19 was driven by a desire for volunteers from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church to help more families and individuals affected by the pandemic.
“The ripple effects of COVID-19 continue to be devastating – we have seen more families in crisis due to financial pressures and social isolation than ever before,” Mr Alderton said.
“However, as Christians, we are driven by our values and our faith and a strong desire to serve the communities we live and work in.
“We saw the need and got to work immediately to get Food Boxes out to our local communities who needed the extra support.
“Every single one of the 7,460 RRT Food Boxes has been packed and safely hand-delivered by an RRT volunteer – it’s quite remarkable,” Mr Alderton said.
RRT’s Food Box initiative has delivered 2,366 boxes in Victoria, 4,137 boxes in NSW, 748 boxes in Queensland, and 209 in Tasmania this year.
Many of these initiatives were run in partnership with local councils and welfare support groups including the Blue Mountains City Council, Burnie City Council and Community Support Frankston, as well as Service NSW and the Queensland Government.
The Rapid Relief Team was established by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church in 2013 to express the Church’s principles of care and compassion.
The RRT is staffed by Church volunteers who provide catering services at a range of charitable events and emergencies.