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Canterbury College responds to urgent call from Rosies — Friends On The Street


A Canterbury College house food drive rapidly evolved into a massive school-wide campaign to collect cups of instant noodles, with over 2,000 given to Rosies — Friends On The Street

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What started as a way for Canterbury College’s Becket House to engage more with the local community and better appreciate what “service” really means evolved into a massive collection of instant noodles being given to the wonderful Rosies — Friends On The Street outreach organisation.

In Term 2, Becket House — named after the 12th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket — hosted a noodle cup drive amongst the school community.

Students, parents, carers, families and staff were invited to drop off instant noodle cups at the school to help keep rough sleepers fed and warm over the chilly winter.

Becket’s Vice-Captain — Community Andrew saw the initiative as a vital way to develop a collective conscience and compassion.

“It’s important for students to get involved in community initiatives because it allows us to actively contribute to society, develop a sense of responsibility and gain valuable social skills and real-world experience,” Andrew said.

“Engaging in community events develops empathy, teamwork, leadership and problem-solving abilities.

“Being involved in the community allows for a deeper understanding of social issues and the importance of collective action to create positive change.”

The College was already involved with Rosies — Friends On The Street, with some senior students regularly volunteering to prepare and serve food, distribute blankets and sanitary items, and chat with rough sleepers at Beenleigh on weeknights.

To generate some friendly rivalry, each Becket Form Class competed against each other to see who could collect the most cups of noodles by the end of the term.

The food drive was also promoted at Assembly to encourage the other five houses to get involved.

The initial goal was to collect 250 to 300 cups of noodles, but that target swelled from 500 to 700, to a final total of almost 1,500 cups being collected by mid-June, with regular house tally announcements.

Rosies collects the College's first shipment of nearly 1,500 cup noodles

Rosies collects the College’s first shipment of nearly 1,500 cup noodles. (L-R) Mr Hayden Turner (Becket Assistant Head of House), Mrs Jennifer Russell (Becket Head of House), Ashutosh (Becket Year 9 Community Leader), Ashley (Becket House Captain), Mitchell (Becket Year 12 Student), and a Rosies Beenleigh representative in June 2023

For Becket’s Head of House Mrs Jennifer Russell the initiative was an important reminder for many students that their efforts have an impact regardless of how much time and money they contribute.

“Many students often think that to be involved in a charity, or to offer your service, you need to do something huge, and you need to either give up a lot of time or find a lot of money,” Mrs Russell said.

“We think the reason why the drive was so successful is that cup noodles can often be bought for less than a dollar.

“Most students could do that, and many brought in four, five or 10 each.”

Becket House is hugely grateful for all the donations they received, and there are a few contributors they would especially like to acknowledge for their generosity.

Firstly, they would like to thank the grandmother of two students who knitted and sold blankets, using the money she earned to purchase noodles.

The others are nurses who work on a Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) ward who brought in a total of 330 cups of noodles.

The original plan was to hand over the donations early in Term 3, but an urgent call from Rosies in Beenleigh towards the end of Term 2, saw the Canterbury College donating two carloads of noodles earlier in June.

Rosies Beenleigh Branch Coordinator Fay Blackshaw has already seen the positive impact of the initiative as distribution of the noodles begins in the community.

“Many patrons receiving them have been very grateful and happy that the school has contributed so much to support them,” Ms Blackshaw said.

“The noodle cups are easy to prepare and they tell me they enjoy eating them.

“Canterbury College has been invaluable to help us provide support and care to our patrons, and fundraisers and drives like this help the school contribute to the local community and unite in a common goal that directly benefits people who are homeless and needy in our area.”

Mrs Russell said that after a very successful first year, Becket House plans to continue this food drive into 2024 and beyond, involving the Junior School campus in future initiatives.

“If this is how many we can collect — just as the Secondary School — imagine how many more we can collect if we involve the Junior School?” she said.

The student’s generosity continued into the school holidays, with Becket’s Year 9 Community Leader student Ashutosh collecting additional noodles.

Over the mid-year school holidays, Ashutosh reached out to extended family and friends, including the wider Indian community, his taekwondo buddies and RBWH doctors and nurses.

He collected 330 cups of noodles from the RBWH when he shared the news about the food drive with his mother’s colleagues.

After his efforts over winter, he managed to raise another 1,002 more cups.

Ashutosh’s mother Seema Prasad-Vaitha said she is delighted with her son’s efforts, love and compassion.

“I try my best to make sure that both my sons are empathetic and appreciate what they have in life and the people in their lives,” Ms Prasad-Vaitha said.

“I am truly proud of him.”

Editor’s note: Homelessness Week 2023 will be held between Monday 7 August and Sunday 13 August. To join in or host an event or to download resources, please visit the Homelessness Australia website.

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