St Joseph’s College, Geelong, has a long history of students and staff volunteering for Service Learning and taking part in community service initiatives to help those less fortunate. Within a usual school term, SJC students are a regular feature at local breakfast programs, outreach programs, Landcare and environmental efforts and so much more. Earlier this year a team of students travelled to Corryong to assist with building fences that were lost in the January fires, the College could not be prouder of their efforts.

However the recent COVID-19 restrictions have not only meant changing the way our students attend school, it has also meant that the opportunity to take part in many Service Learning opportunities is just not an option for our students at this time.

The impact of empty shelves and long supermarket lines is being felt by all, however for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged this only adds to their already difficult circumstances.

Many of us have had to adapt, and one of the ways St Joseph’s is continuing its work in showing Compassion for the local community is to provide meal support to those who are feeling the strain. The College is proud to maintain its own Care Group that supports College families who may be struggling through difficult times and in the midst of the Corona Virus pandemic, the College has also formed a partnership with local organisation OneCare.

OneCare Geelong provide support and services for the marginalised in Geelong through support networks, grocery assistance and meal services. Their current services have been heavily impacted by grocery shortages and a reduction in volunteers.

St Joseph’s support staff – many of whom would usually be running a busy Canteen or assisting with Food Technology classes at the College, have now switched their usual workload to helping to cook and prepare food twice a week to donate to OneCare’s initiatives. The kitchen is a hive of activity with baked goods and meals packed and ready to send out.

In the spirit of Edmund Rice, being a member of the St Joseph’s Community either as student, staff or family member is an opportunity to reach out to others less fortunate than ourselves and show the importance of compassion. The College will continue to support OneCare as they adapt their services to meet the needs of our community in these unprecedented times.