How did you keep the kids occupied over the locked down school holidays? The Reddy family of Strathfield NSW got their kids involved in hosting a food drive.
In a week-long activity that kept them totally engrossed, Neil Reddy (12) and his brother Nikhil (11) collected 168kg worth of donations for Foodbank Australia.
The donated items came from families in their neighbourhood, and were delivered by the Reddy family to Foodbank’s warehouse based in Glendenning.
“Nearly 40 families helped us in our food drive,” Neil Reddy, a Year 7 student of Sydney Tech High School, told Indian Link. “They responded to our letterbox drop-offs in which we asked for items like canned food, pasta, biscuits, water, pet food and toiletries.”
The boys printed off 400 flyers at home about Foodcamp, asking for the donations to be dropped off at their home. Bags filled with food began to arrive shortly thereafter, the wet weather notwithstanding.
“We kept a table outside with signs,” Neil described.
Nikhil, his younger brother, said, “My favourite part was when people knocked on the door.”
Mum Sandhya laughed as she recalled the boys’ second favourite activity – arranging the cans of food into giant pyramids.
At the end of the week, the boys sorted the items into bags, and drove out with Mum and Dad to hand in their collected items.
“I felt good and proud,” Nikhil, a Year 6 student at Strathfield South Public School, reported. “I’m happy that people in need could have the food they need.”
“We didn’t get a chance to thank all the people that donated, as many of them dropped off at our doorstep,” Dad Karri Reddy told Indian Link. “Perhaps we can say thank you through this article!”
Sandhya and Karri Reddy are keen to inculcate a spirit of volunteering and good citizenship in their children.
“We like the idea of Foodbank, especially in these times of COVID,” Sandhya observed. “Unfortunately, you have to be at least 15 years old to volunteer with them. So they advised our kids to do a food drive instead.”
She added, “They said they would pick the donations up from our home, but we thought it might be a better experience for the boys to actually see how the food is collected at the warehouse in Glendenning. It gave them a sense of how others are giving freely to those that need.”
Neil has already had an experience of volunteering when he participated in Chinmaya Mission’s No Shoes campaign this year, a barefoot walk in aid of Multiple Sclerosis awareness.
Both brothers also paid an Anzac tribute this year on 25 April – they played The Last Post at dawn on their driveway as neighbours dropped by to listen, and share an early snack of Anzac biscuits.
The Reddys, both SES volunteers themselves, feel that it’s important for children of New Australians to become part of the community where they are growing up. “We teach our kids two important lessons: be happy, and be good citizens. The first is for their own good; the second, for the good of the community in which they live.”
The Reddys might be on to something – research reveals that there are many social and psychological benefits to volunteering. It bolsters a sense of community and improves self-esteem and confidence, but perhaps more significantly, it keeps social isolation and depression at bay, and can alleviate anxiety.
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