“Good In the Hood is unlike most charities,” says its Founder, Marco De Angelis.
Good In The Hood, Balamian and Rozelle
The volunteer organisation has a circular support system at its heart: the community supports the community. Based in the Balmain and Rozelle areas, they focus on decreasing loneliness with free-of-charge meals for locals. It’s all in an effort to “unlock the kindness and power of our neighbourhood.”
De Angelis began the meal-prep charity in early 2020. The community’s generosity toward small businesses during COVID lockdowns had inspired him to “find a way to give back.”
Good In The Hood quickly expanded thanks to the support of volunteers and businesses. In particular, De Angelis expresses gratitude to Together2, Vinnies, OzHarvest, Bertoni and Fruitologist, saying, “They have been with us from the start, are always happy to help when asked for more, and show us endless love and support.”
Over the last few years, Good In the Hood has continued to grow in focus and size, with, according to De Angelis, “the same love and passion, but with more clarity about our mission, the future, and how to get there.”
30,000 Moments of Volunteer Connection
Today, as always, they seek to serve the “whole community.” Over the last two years, they have delivered “30,000+ moments of connection” with an accumulated 17,000 volunteering hours. Each week, they provide nearly 300 meals, plus hampers and snacks, made possible by over 100 supporters.
“To be frank, it’s quite humbling,” he says, “Some give time, others knowledge, many contribute financially, they spread the word, bake food, help at events. The list goes on. So many people give what they can, and more, to help those within our community.”
He shares a story of one of their early and ongoing meal recipients, who has experienced mental illness and social isolation.
“Now, he regularly volunteers for us at our BBQs, comes in and does jobs around the garden and has recommenced piano lessons that he hasn’t done for decades,” De Angelis says. “The effect that Good In the Hood can have is the beginning of a small upward cycle of life choices that can have incredible impact on the individual and those around them.”
Signs of Loneliness
While signs of loneliness are unique to the person, De Angelis says they can include social withdrawal, feelings of isolation and difficulty forming meaningful relationships, which can lead to a decline in mental and physical health.
De Angelis encourages everyone to do their part to combat the loneliness epidemic by “simply being more conscious of the people living around you. Take time to say hello to a stranger, take out your neighbour’s bins, and offer to carry the shopping. The great thing is that the littlest things can have the most profound impact."
“Loneliness is a big issue that affects 1 in 3 people,” shares De Angelis. “One of the most effective methods of addressing it is through increased personal connection. And this is where we step in.”
For those wanting to support the work of Good In the Hood, volunteering includes meal preparation, event support, and program development. However, De Angelis emphasises that volunteering is also for “filling your cup” and connecting with the community.
“The program is really about creating more moments of human connection and reminders that our recipients are supported and loved by their community. It gives people within the community the opportunity to give back to their community.”
In 2024, they look forward to furthering their impact. This includes developing their Cooking for Good program which organises volunteer cooking sessions to produce meals and provide another opportunity for people to gather together. They are also planning to grow programs that include walks, community BBQs, student volunteering, and events focused on raising awareness around loneliness.
“Everything we do is focused on creating more positive impact and greater human connection. We’re very excited about the next 12 months and beyond.”
Would you like to get involved? Head to their website.