Families across Canberra in quarantine on Wednesday night received fresh food parcels to help them through their sometimes rolling weeks of isolation and cancelled work.
A collaboration, dubbed ACT Hand in Hand, comprising businesses, the ACT Liberal Opposition and charity Picking Up the Peaces raised close to $30,000 from community fundraising to get the packs out to predominately large, multicultural families who may have multiple generations under the one roof, on low or no income.
Deputy Opposition Leader Giulia Jones said the households were of usually six to nine people, many workers in casual or part-time employment, who had lost income during the lockdown.
Leaders from local ethnic communities asked for culturally-appropriate food boxes of fruit, vegetables and meat. One box cost $370 and was likely to feed a big household for more than a week.
Picking Up The Peaces, led by Kate and David Tonacia, managed the money donations. The G Spot's Andrew Dale, who got assistance quickly to South Coast families affected by the 2019-20 bushfires, pulled together his supplier network to make the boxes a reality.
Frank Commissio at the Go Troppo Fruit Market ordered the fresh fruit and veg at no profit to him and put the boxes together in his Fyshwick warehouse. Mr Commissio also donated the delivery to each home.
Brett Palmer from Longpark Meat Co supplied the fresh meat at no profit. And Woolworths donated the rice, pasta, and beans for each box. Ajit Kumar also donated 100kg of rice from his supermarket in Coombs.
Mrs Jones said everyone swung into action when they had heard about the vulnerable families who sometimes had to quarantine for many weeks as multiple members were working at exposure sites.
"The generosity of Canberrans is so, so good. Especially in a crisis," she said.
Mrs Jones said the Liberal Opposition got involved when asked to by community leaders. She said it was no criticism of the government's response to the lockdown, but simply a desire to help.