You often find out the true value of people when the chips are down, so the saying goes.
During a time of “madness for everyone”, Newcastle-based businesses and individuals donated more than 2,500 meals, over $5,000 in vouchers, 500 bottles of hand sanitiser, and a bunch of grocery items and baked goods.
Newy Burger Co spearheaded the 12-week initiative that provided much-needed support and kindness for those who were struggling amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We’ve always done a large batch of soup every week to help Soul Café Newcastle with what they do,” owner Ben Neil explains.
“On that first doomsday weekend when everyone was shutting down, we were like: ‘We’re going to keep trading and see how we go.’
“Soul Café had to shut their dining room, so we started doing soups ourselves and some breads and that turned into people wanting to sponsor batches of soup to help.”
From there, people started to come and pick up kindness boxes.
“They were people who had been hit financially by COVID, people with friends in healthcare, or elderly neighbours,” Ben says.
“There was no judgement from us – no-one had to come and explain why they wanted it or what the justification was.”
Apart from distributing the kindness boxes, a couple of hundred Coles shopping cards were also handed out, while businesses rallied to such an extent that they were able to provide enough food to feed a family of four for a week.
“People were so giving in a time when it was madness for everyone,” Ben says.
“Newcastle always gets behind its own.”
With demand for the kindness boxes dropping off, Newy Burger Co has resumed making its weekly soup for Soul Café.
Ben hopes people will continue to support local businesses that chose to give during a time when many struggled to stay open.
“When you’re coming back to dine and go out or get take away, maybe think about these businesses that, during tough times, have gone above and beyond and given to help others, and not for any credit – a lot of the restaurants didn’t want any exposure for it,” he says.
Visit Newy Burger Co’s Facebook page for more.