Volunteering goes a long way

Beaconhills College''s Michael Johnson and head of citizenship senior chaplain Peggy Kruse.

While some food vans may be suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, those less fortunate in the Pakenham community will not go hungry.

A team of volunteers, comprised of 12 teaching and general staff members from Beaconhills College, ordinarily help with the Bless Collective Food Van which is run by the Fellow Church at Bourke Park in Pakenham.

However, due to the current Covid-19 circumstances the food van is temporarily closed.

In the meantime, the group – Citizenship and Services Committee (CitCom Committee), has been very mindful that the people seeking support still require groceries.

“We felt that running an appeal in lieu of our volunteering was our way of supporting the work of the Follow Church and Bless Collective Food Van,” Beaconhills College head of citizenship and service and CitCom Committee member Clare Tuohy said.

“We have been supporting the Follow Church by donating grocery items and non-perishables for their home delivered hamper program.”

The two volunteer groups have also been supporting Pakenham’s Salvation Army by donating fresh vegies straight from the school’s gardens and donating precooked meals.

Since the Salvation Army does not have a vehicle large enough to collect food and other items from the food bank and central support services, Beaconhills College is lending the charity its truck.

The college’s currently has two citizenship and services committees – one for staff and the other for students, with the student committee comprising of 35 students, ranging from from Year 8 to 12.

The purpose of the committees is to determine and strategically plan and lead college programs, to consider new initiatives, to communicate to the community the programs they are facilitating and offering.

“We want all of our college community to be active participants in shaping a future of greater possibility for the whole world and that they all understand that the world values personal contributions that are greater than self,” she said.

“We want our families to really believe that they are making a meaningful difference and that they have a really clear idea of the purpose of their actions.

“Our citizenship and service programs help create a culture of contribution that will hopefully be so ingrained in their hearts that it will continue long after they have graduated from Beaconhills College.”

Now in their third year of volunteering, the committees aim to oversee and facilitate any citizenship and service programs at the college that involve the whole college community – ranging from quality winter coat donations to feeding Melbourne’s homeless with 800kg of pasta.

“It is just what we have always done. We are building on the vision of the founders of the college,” Ms Tuohy said.

“Our core values of compassion, integrity and respect guide our programs.

“Our mission is to ensure our students have values that empower them to be responsible, caring citizens in their local and global communities. This really says it all.”