Sunday Blessings is a grass-roots community-driven group alleviating food insecurity utilising surplus-food while minimising food waste. Sunday Blessings has formed partnerships with youth, local retailers, schools, universities, and other community groups to create social change.
The group, which began in 2018 from three founding families, has since coordinated over 36,000 meals for the unhoused community and feeds up to 170 guests each Sunday night.
One of the founders of Sunday Blessings, Danielle LeGallais believes it is important to build self-sufficiency and education around food waste from a young age.
“I think that all schools should have community gardens that every single family has access to, that the kids will nurture and grow and look after for many, many, many generations to come.”
Their intergenerational partnership with Glendowie Primary encourages young people to become social advocates and contribute to their community.
The children of Glendowie Primary not only donate baked goods for the Sunday Blessings meal services but are also currently creating food pantries with branding assistance from Sunday Blessings.
This builds entrepreneurship amongst young people along with other employability skills like positive attitude, teamwork, communication skills, problem solving and of course resilience to bounce back from knock backs.
Danielle went from cooking food in her apartment with little impact to forming a charity that is currently in discussions with Paul Hunt of the Human Rights Commission about the best way to urge our Government to declare that accessibility to food is a fundamental human right.
“We are now campaigning for legislative change working alongside the human rights commission. So having those connections are really beneficial to the people you’re trying to serve,” says Danielle.
For Danielle, working with other community groups is mutually beneficial, it provides more resources and diversity of opinions. It helps uplift the voices of other groups that intersect with her own kaupapa. “Every single social issue is intersectional with another social issue.”
What are your top three pieces of advice and key learnings along the way for a successful partnership/programme?
It is crucial to research the work that is already present in the community you are trying to serve. If there is a double-up of a service, it makes your work redundant. Other organisations in the same space can also provide emotional support and potential partnership opportunities. “Having this army that can help you with your soul banking. It’s like a brotherhood, sisterhood, a family that keeps you propped up when you need,” says Danielle. Talk and listen to the people who will benefit from your service. The closer you are to them, the more beneficial you are going to be. Include allies in your organisation that have similar experiences to your beneficiaries, they will relate to and understand the experiences of your beneficiaries.
2. Say Yes
There is an army of people in the community ready to help but you must put yourself out there so you can meet them.
“You must essentially start off with networking and it will lead you to your tribe of people, say yes to every single invitation for about a year, it’s hard but you got to do it,” says Danielle.
Even when an event or meeting might not seem beneficial, you must go. You must be courageous and speak out about what you care about and what you are trying to achieve. Take feedback onboard from these events, be open to new ideas and grow from what you learn.
3. Have Thick Skin
When working in a social enterprise fighting for social justice there will be people who are unafraid to bring you down. Sometimes it is difficult to go up against the people that are benefiting from the injustices you are trying to prevent but “for every person that disagrees with you, there’s also someone suffering that needs help,” says Danielle.
Be prepared for pushback on your systems and ideas from your community allies. Listen to their perspectives and “get thick skinned to the point where it’s not actually anything personal”, it’s about your kaupapa.