Big Hearts at The Big Umbrella
Conset and its group of entities have embedded giving back to our community in its 2019 Social Calendar. This year, our calendar has been planned for much more than welcome breakfasts and meetings!
What’s in our Social Calendar?
At Conset, we recognise that a good work-life balance is essential to creating a healthy, happy and engaged team. To support this balance, and to continue our drive for a unified culture of shared experiences, we have created an active Social Calendar full of diverse and special events.
Some of these activities focus on wellbeing, culture and relationships. Throughout the year four Feeding the Hungry events were scheduled and we’re proud to share that we’ve fulfilled them all! Our final Feeding the Hungry event occurred last week with a group of employees volunteering with The Big Umbrella organisation.
Volunteering with The Big Umbrella
Last Wednesday, a group of staff met in the city to help cook and serve food with the 100% volunteer-run organisation The Big Umbrella. This NGO organisation works locally and abroad addressing issues impacting on marginalised people including those affected by human rights abuses, exploitation, forced labour and homelessness.
The Big Umbrella works with both corporate and individual volunteers to serve 150,000 meals to homeless communities of Melbourne. They rescue all their food – all 250 tonnes from corporate events and food services industry.
As a group of staff, we felt humbled and privileged to be able to give back to our homeless community in Melbourne as well as share a meal and have a chat with them. We wore our Big Umbrella volunteer T-shirts and helped cook pancakes, serve meals while bundling up fresh fruit and vegetables to our friends on the street.
Here’s what some of our staff said about the experience:
Anjana Thotahewage Site Engineer
“Being a part of The Big Umbrella volunteer team was a very eye-opening experience. You don’t really hear about the issue of homeless on the news so it’s only through opportunities like this where I was able to meet and talk to people that I truly understood how common it is and the reality that it can happen to 1 in 4 people. The friends on the street appreciation and good nature were a humbling experience. Hearing them say Civilex is their favourite company and that we should open a Civilex pancake division was also a great bonus.”
Dawn Ziros Warehouse Manager
“Wednesday night was honestly one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever experienced! I walked away feeling humbled and hoped I’d made a difference to our friends on the street that night. I cannot wait to do it again.”
Matthew Bell Procurement Manager
“A humbling experience that really puts what’s happening in your life into perspective and makes any issue seem small. A smile can make a difference.”
Elvira Tevaga Project Administrator
“My experience on Wednesday with The Big Umbrella, in a nutshell, was that it was a reality check to what it means to be content. Not taking the little things for granted like food, clothing and a warm bed. And a smile can take you places.”
Joshua Mulvogue Site Engineer
“It was the first time I’ve volunteered, and it was an excellent experience. Great to witness firsthand the amazing work charitable organisations such as The Big Umbrella do for our friends on the street and the time and effort they put in. The people who received meals were just like me, and it is unfortunate that the stigma surrounding homelessness continues to exist in our society. Hopefully soon with all the great work done by The Big Umbrella, this will change.”
Henrique Dos Anjos Gatti
“It was good to be reminded of how grateful we should be for the stable life we have. Sometimes we complain and struggle with problems that are not that big. Seeing and hearing the stories of The Big Umbrella’s friends on the street reminded me. But the best aspect of volunteering last Wednesday night was seeing how much people need help, and how much we still need to make changes for a better society.”
Jason Bell Subject Matter Expert
“I met The Preston Man last Wednesday night. He shared with me how he doesn’t have a family, he’s homeless and has some serious injuries to the right side of his body. After chatting he noticed the bandage around my arm from a sunspot removal. I was humbled by his ongoing concern about my sunspot. He wanted to make sure it was going to be okay. It’s hard to put this experience into words – but he was more concerned about my sunspot than any of his current issues. What does that say about our lives? Volunteering with The Big Umbrella and their friends on the street was one of the most moving experiences I’ve had. It’s been a long time since I felt I could speak freely with honesty and openness.”
Our Previous Feeding the Hungry Activities
Foodbank Victoria – in March we purchased grocery items for Foodbank Victoria that helped deliver 51 hampers representing 1,200 meals for the hungry (that’s 650kg of food).
Sunshine Salvos – in May we volunteered along with our BBQ truck at the Sunshine Salvation Army to feed their community on a Friday night.
Northern Bay College – in August we volunteered at Northern Bay College Breakfast Club supplying breakfast and serving the kids.