Coast Hands reaching out to many as lockdown drags on

Micah Weekes and volunteers from Coast Hands, handing out food and groceries to those in need

Volunteers from Coast Hands are helping those in need, providing meals and grocery hampers to homeless and financially struggling Coasties during lockdown.

Since July 2020, the team, comprising of 68 volunteers including members of the Knights Motorcycle Club have provided 5,000 meals through neighbourhood centres across the Coast.

Coast Hands Founder, Micah Weekes, said the organisation supplies those in need with a variety of essentials such as food and clothes.

“Basically what we do is we supply people who are in need with meals,” Weekes said.

“We also supply clothing, blankets, toiletries, sanitation, and all that sort of stuff,” he said.

“A lot of what we do is based around the meals.

“We do frozen meals to five different neighbourhood centres, as well as outreach services.

“Everything we do, really importantly, is free.

“The assistance that we get from local businesses who cook for us, they supply the stuff for free, the meat, the veggies, the pasta, the rice, the sauce, everything that goes into these meals is free.

“All the donations that we take from the community all come in for free and go back out to people who need it the most for free,” Weekes said.

Organisations that support Coast Hands include Shoebox Revolution, Southlakes Incorporated and Cakes by Kayla.

“We normally come down to Kibble Park with Soul Soup and Pass It On Clothing and Orange Sky,” Weekes said.

“There are lots of us all over the place who bounce off one another to help as many as we possibly can,” he said.

The best way to get assistance during lockdown is to contact a neighbourhood centre to organise a contactless pick up and be guided to other services, he said.

Participating centres include San Remo Neighbourhood Centre, Toukley Neighbourhood Centre, Berkeley Vale Neighbourhood Centre and Bateau Bay Neighbourhood Centre.

“While a lot of neighbourhood centres are contactless, you can’t go in there, you can ring ahead and organize … and they can give you information.

“They can still point you in the direction of the services that you require.

“That’s probably the best bet for a lot of people in the area,” Weekes said.

Homelessness in the area is decreasing during the lockdown because of accommodation assistance but there is still a lack of support for struggling individuals, Weekes observed.

“It’s all well and good to put them in a motel room or give them some temporary accommodation, but they need this support service around them.

“They need access to food, and access to services.

“You’re going to find a lot of people who have a roof over their head are going to come down here looking for food, looking for assistance, needing hampers because they don’t have work and they don’t have money.

“If you’re in a financial situation where you’re good and you want to help us, and want to buy us some groceries that we can take to the streets, then by all means please do.

“We can’t really take clothing at the moment because of lockdown restrictions, and it takes too much time and money to wash and deep clean everything that comes in.

“The best way to help would just be to send us some groceries like non-perishable foods.

“Anything that doesn’t need prep, these guys might be in a temporary accommodation.

“They might not have access to a fridge, or cooking arrangements, so things like baked beans, long life milk, cereals, biscuits, snack foods and muesli bars,” Weekes said.

Times are tough for some with the continuing lockdown but Weekes said the community spirit is more than alive on the Coast, and those who can are helping.

“People are really struggling at the moment, but among all of this, we’re seeing all these community members who are rallying behind us and assisting us and helping everyone.

“We know it’s difficult, but honestly the community spirit at the moment on the Central Coast is fantastic,” Weekes said.

Anyone looking to support Coast Hands can get in touch with them on their Facebook site.

Harry Mulholland