Beverly Hopkins and Mars Food Australia receive volunteer awards

Ms Beverley Hopkins with Central Coast Councillor, Mr Richard MehrtensMs Beverley Hopkins with Central Coast Councillor, Mr Richard Mehrtens

Volunteering Central Coast (VCC) has announced the winners of the 2018 Volunteer Awards, on May 30, at their annual Volunteering Expo.

The Expo saw 38 community organisations come together to showcase their activities and volunteering opportunities. “The theme for this year’s National Volunteering week was ‘Give a little change a lot’, however, it appears that all the award nominees have given a great deal,” said Ms Fiona Morrison, from VCC.

“The people of the Central Coast are very generous with their time, skills and hearts, with a higher percentage of people volunteering here than in Greater Sydney. “Over 46,000 people volunteer on the Central Coast every year, and we get to meet many of them at VCC. “I feel that the real winners are the organisations and communities in which all our nominees volunteer,” she said. Local winners included, Ms Beverley Hopkins, of Toukley Neighbourhood Centre, and Mars Food Australia, from Berkeley Vale. Ms Hopkins was the winner of the Living Legend award.

“Bev loves her local community and has been involved in many volunteering positions at Toukley Neighbourhood Centre for over 15 years,” Ms Morrison said. “She has been instrumental in identifying gaps and needs for the disadvantaged and vulnerable and has developed programs like Showers and Laundry for the homeless, and two social enterprises to support the community, the Lakes Food Care Program and the Toukley OP-Shop.

“The Lakes Food Care Program provides an affordable place to shop where over 500 clients Beverly Hopkins and Mars Food Australia receive volunteer awards Ms Beverley Hopkins with Central Coast Councillor, Mr Richard Mehrtens and families a week only pay handling fees for rescued food purchased from Foodbank NSW and ACT. “The OP-Shop provides much needed funds which support other community programs available at Toukley Neighbourhood Centre. “Bev’s love, energy, innovation and aspirations for this community, and Toukley Neighbourhood Centre, is an incredible contribution by one individual,” Ms Morrison added. Mars Food Australia was the winner of the Excellence in Corporate Volunteering.

In August, 2017, more than 160 employees from the Berkeley Vale factory spent a day volunteering at organisations across the Central Coast. “Employees split up across 16 community organisations that included farms, schools for disadvantaged youth, respite centres, and recovery and rehabilitation centres, to lend a hand: Cooking and sharing meals with community group volunteers and service users; picking fruit; gardening and ground maintenance; setting up an irrigation system at a local school for agriculture classes; creating and planting new vegetable gardens and trending existing community vegetable gardens; refreshing kitchen and dining facilities; and, reinvigorating a sensory trail for children and adults with disabilities,” Ms Morrison said.

Source: Media release, May 30 Fiona Morrison, Volunteering Central Coast