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Doing good in the hood

Community development organisation I Love Avondale is doing great work in the local neighbourhood. It oversees several initiatives, including Kai Avondale.

This community wellbeing project improves access to free kai and household or hygiene items for those who need them. It also distributes rescued food that otherwise would be wasted. Crucially, Kai Avondale provides places for locals to meet and connect while enjoying some delicious kai.

According to I Love Avondale team lead Jaclyn Bonnici, Kai Avondale has several offerings.

Operating from Avondale Community Centre, Feed The Streets serves a fortnightly two-course hot meal for up to 80 locals. Rescued and donated food is prepared on-site by a passionate team of volunteers. Guests include rough sleepers, lodgers, pensioners, and, increasingly, working families.

Free Guys is a social supermarket stocking rescued and donated food, clothes, and other essentials. Social service agencies refer people to the service, which helps around 80 individuals and families weekly. Free Guys also deliver food parcels to locals.

Kai Avondale also supports breakfast clubs at Rosebank School, Avondale Primary, and Avondale Intermediate. The clubs are run by senior school students and promote healthy eating and companionship for schoolchildren.

Kai Avondale

Furthermore, working in partnership with social enterprise, Food Together, Kai Avondale offers fresh and affordable fruit and vegetables for sale locally. Every week produce is delivered to the I Love Avondale hub, where volunteers sort, pack and distribute boxes to the community.

Jaclyn says Kai Avondale has been up and running for five years. However, demand has increased dramatically since Covid and the cost-of-living crisis.

Thanks to funding from the Your West Support Fund, Kai Avondale’s vital task has become easier. The organisation received $20,000 in 2021, which has been invested in a much-needed van.

‘The van has been a game-changer,’ declares Jaclyn. Now, even more rescued and donated food can be collected and distributed. And the van makes it easier to connect with hard-to-reach communities. ‘We would never have been able to buy a van without the funding, and it’s been crucial to our work,’ Jaclyn reports.

Kai Avondale also received $5,000 from the 2022 Your West Support Fund. That money has gone towards salary costs and a new chest freezer. Rescuing unsold but still good-to-eat food from local shops and suppliers is vital to Kai Avondale's work. The chest freezer helps in that task and supports Free Guys and Feed The Streets.

‘Increasing access to free and low-cost kai is a pathway to turning people’s lives around,’ says Jaclyn. However, the I Love Avondale team also knows that building trusting relationships and offering safe, non-judgemental spaces is just as important.

There's no doubt Kai Avondale is indeed doing good in the hood.

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