Community food programs in Campbelltown Campus of WSU


Image caption: Tangila Amin | Getting ready to serve at the Community dinner in Campbelltown campus 

Image caption: Anya Wikramanayake | Community breakfast at Campbelltown 

I struggle with two activities in my university life – finding food and making friends. And what better way to solve both than attending community dinners and breakfasts situated in the different campuses of Western Sydney University. To gather an insight into the volunteer and community aspect of Community breakfasts and dinners, I interviewed Haleema, passionate individual on food safety who cooks at the breakfasts. I got the pleasure of seeing her prepare rice pudding for breakfast that day. And Avery, a first-year student who just loves cooking and making connections who volunteers at the dinners, whom I pulled aside while the rest of the team was cooking pesto chicken pasta for dinner. 

How did you get involved with this program? 

Haleema: “The university restarted the program with us, before it wasn’t running, and we didn’t know about it. I knew about it earlier because I worked with Miranda Zhang (Food security coordinator), and she reached out and asked if I was interested, so that’s how I heard about it.” 

Avery: “So I learnt about them through WesternLife, I found the page and went to the community dinner on week 1 and they said that if anyone wants to help us out just let us know. And I love cooking, it’s not something I ever want to do professionally but it’s something I love doing for myself and I like baking for friends and all of that so I thought it would be nice to help out.” 

Why do you continue helping at these food programs? 

Haleema: “Student poverty is rising, there are students here who skip lunches, who live on borderline, they have reduced work hours because their study hours are so much or, they can’t commit to work hours because study hours change, so being a student these days is really hard, so I believe that this is a necessary program. Food scarcity at the moment isn’t just affecting students, but people who are in that eighteen – twenty-four-year age group are the most vulnerable for poverty, so that’s why I am here. As soon as Miranda, said breakfast program, I was like yes, I am on board. I am also very passionate about nutrition and getting a great breakfast in your day can just set you up, everything here is cooked from scratch, everything is made with protein in mind, and kind of just hitting nutritious goals.” 

Avery: “Volunteering has been good there is a lot of stuff that I have never cooked before that we have made, and it’s a space where I get to know people through cooking but also through serving people the food afterwards but it feels nice to have an end product of the food at the end, and really just helping people out, especially with the cost of living where the price of groceries is going up so much and to just have one night a week where people can come and get free dinner and chat with their peers and all of that, and it is a great idea and I am really happy and glad that I am a part of it.” 

And lastly, I gathered a few thoughts from Marie, a regular attendee at the Campbelltown community dinners and past volunteer. 

Marie: “I have been to both sides – when I first came to the community dinner, I was enjoying the food like, “Oh my God free stuff”, taking it without really enjoying it. And when I started to come with them and help them just before it (dinner) starts and see behind the kitchen I could see that people put a lot of love in the meal, and the common goal was to make everyone happy. Then when I started to eat the food after I realise what was happening behind the kitchen, I enjoyed it even more because it was not only about free stuff but also it was about love and sharing and that’s where I start to really appreciate the food.” 

Click on the link below to find more information about the Community breakfasts and dinners around the campuses of Western Sydney University to take advantage of this free food and a great opportunity to make friends!

And don’t forget to register so that they cooks can estimate how much to cook each week! 

Anya Wikramanayake

You may also be interested in

May 18, 2024

Fantasy Book Recommendation Corner 

Read the latest novel recommendations from Symphony Chakma, a book lover and member of the WSU Book Club! Find out why these stories mean so much…...
By Symphony Chakma 
May 7, 2024

Creating a culture of safety around sexual harm at Western

TW: This report contains content about sexual harm that some readers may find distressing. You can find support services and resources below. When a U...
By Lauren Graham
May 7, 2024

Western Sydney University students run a bake sale to raise money for charity

Alicia Deans tells us about how Western Sydney University students have run a bake sale to raise money for charity......
By Alicia Dean