DARA’s helpers

Throughout 2018, St Pius X High School, Adamstown, St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton, St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar and St Paul’s Catholic College, Booragul have been lending a helping hand to the DARA Van.

At St Pius X, 75 Food Technology students have been involved in meal preparation for the van. With food ingredients delivered by DARA, the Year 10 students made dishes such Chicken Chasseur and Lamb Risoni to be served out to those in need. As well as being a valuable social justice activity for the students, the preparation of meals also ties in with the school’s Catering and Food Service curriculum. Catering for the DARA Van has given students hands-on experience with food preparation and cooking for large numbers and taught them more about team work and time management. 

Students at St Joseph’s, Lochinvar have been living out the mission of the Josephite Sisters to assist the impoverished and marginalised in society by volunteering their services with DARA. A group of Year 11 students and 20 staff members have “rolled up their sleeves and got the job done” throughout 2018. The opportunity to help with DARA will continue to be offered to students at the college into the future.

During November, Year 12 Hospitality students from St Paul’s Catholic College, Booragul also got on board to help DARA, by preparing and cooking food throughout the month. 

Another 21 students from Year 9 Food Technology also contributed by designing their own sweet food items, preparing and suppling them to DARA’s Van.

“Upon volunteering with DARA’s Van I was able to provide those less fortunate with a nutritious meal, warm beverages and was able to interact with other members of the community in a positive and caring way,’ said Samantha Claridge, a Year 12 student at St Joseph’s.

“Through this volunteering program, I was able to gain an insight into other people’s situations and learn a little more about each individual by socialising and communicating with them with DARA’s Van.

“I am able to see first-hand the gratitude and smile on the people’s faces when they are able to interact with new people and enjoy a meal together.”

“When volunteering with the van we help out in a variety of ways,” said Noah Hurn, another student at St Joseph’s.

“This includes making tea, coffee and milo (lots of milo), preparing meals, setting up places for people to sit and eat, cleaning up and providing friendly conversation.”

“Volunteering for DARA’s Van is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. I had the sense of satisfaction that I had done something to better the community.”

“I became involved in DARA as a way to become part of the broader community and to better understand those struggling in my area,” said Olivia Nicolas, Year 12 student from St Francis Xavier.

“I helped serve people refreshments and food, as well as interacting with individuals who I wouldn't usually be able to interact with. 

 “The DARA Van has reinforced aspects of selflessness and reaffirmed the importance of compassion in my day to day life. 

“My volunteering experience has taught me the importance of having an active role in my community and it has allowed me to gain insight into how other people live and the effects marginalisation can have amongst vulnerable.

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