“It is fatal to look hungry. It makes people want to kick you.” George Orwell – Down and Out in Paris and London


It has been a challenging few weeks for Community Friends. The rules regarding what can and cannot be done has changed a few times. Two weeks ago, we had to cancel our food giveaway. We couldn’t meet the social distancing requirements.

Again, we couldn’t meet the social distancing requirements last week.

However, I received a call for help from TAFE Queensland. They have over 2000 international students. Quite a number of them are experiencing extreme hardship. A lot of them require casual employment in restaurants etcetera to help pay their rent, tuition and food expenses. With all restaurants closed and limited to takeaway only, most of the students have lost their job.

I’ve met too many students who have ended up in the sex industry at one time or another because of financial hardship. So, I take it quite seriously when I hear of students who are having difficulty making ends meet. 

I saw our friends at Creative Cuisine, Foodbank and FareShare and put together a large quantity of frozen meals for the students.


(Janelle Chapman Executive Director TAFE Queensland International and myself. I’m not smiling because I lost the nerves that enable me to smile in a cancer operation a little while ago).

One thing that surprised me about this episode, is that TAFE Queensland told me that they had approached a number of charities and had been knocked back because they were international students. I think if someone is suffering then we should help them if we can. I’m also aware that a large part of Queensland’s income comes from international students. They have supported our economy for many years, so I think it’s only fair that we support them in this time of need.

Following discussions with the Brisbane South Public Health Network and the West End Police we will be starting our food giveaway again this week. We worked out a way to meet the social distancing requirements.

There is a charity in New South Wales called “Shoes for Planet Earth”. When they get offered a bundle of shoes in Brisbane, they offer them to us. We are very grateful for this. We recently came across a large quantity of flip-flops (thongs). I offered them to Shoes for Planet Earth and they gratefully accepted them. Initially, Linfox said they would transport them to Sydney for us at no cost. They later withdrew that offer. I asked them how much it would cost for us to send them to Sydney, they didn’t reply. I then approached Toll Holdings. They didn’t reply to my first email, so I sent another email. In this email, they also refuse to help us. Can you help us? If you know anyone in the transport industry can you speak to them for us please? We want to move about 25 boxes (about 8 kg per box) to Sydney. 

Community Friends sometimes receive donations of excess stock. We currently have many, many new water bottles which we pass onto other charities. One charity in Toowoomba has requested a number of these water bottles. This charity helps children who come into care with very few belongings, often in emergency situations. These children are removed due to abuse/neglect, the removal is often traumatic and doesn’t lend much time or opportunity for the children to enter care with many belongings. We would like to give them 2 boxes of water bottles (200 water bottles). If you can help get these water bottles to Toowoomba, I’m sure the children would appreciate it. ALSO Do you know a truck refrigeration mechanic or a business that does this type of work? We are having trouble with one of our fans or fan belts in our refrigeration unit in the truck. We recently spent close to $2000 servicing and repairing our truck, so it would be great if someone could fix this refrigeration issue for the cost of the parts only. 
Till next time
Mark McDonnell
Community Friends

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