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Covering the Hunger Buster story a humbling experience

Hunger Buster leader Tim Kite (left) Judith, Jan and Adele with the Hunger Buster bus.

There are times when our Salvos Online reporters are personally impacted by the stories they cover. The Wyndham City Salvos food relief story is one example.



It took a shiny red bus with lots of colourful fish and amazing human beings with open hearts to truly humble me.

Here I was on a sunny Friday afternoon at Melbourne’s Werribee Train Station being warmly greeted by the ‘Salvos on the Move’ outreach ministry team. I immediately felt part of the ‘fam’. They work together beautifully, just like a well-oiled machine.

And, oh, I was proudly wearing my shiny new Salvos polo shirt for the first time, too. I felt really good.

I had visions of what to expect – but nothing could prepare me for the sheer volume of people waiting patiently in a line-up. The young, the old, people with families and without families, people from diverse cultural and faith backgrounds, and those who could only speak in their native tongue.

All were there for one overarching reason – to receive food relief. It was a humbling experience.

Some had smiles, others a more pensive demeanour. But all scanned the many boxes of colourful culinary delights attentively as they quietly decided what offerings best suited their circumstances. There was no judgment or discrimination of any sort as to why they were there. All were welcomed. All were fed.

Soon, it became apparent that the red Salvos shield embroidered on my shiny new polo was an open, welcoming, and comforting invitation for people to talk. And talk they did.

Locals line up to access a colourful array of food.

I hoped working in the social welfare sector for many years would ensure I was mentally prepared for those suffering at the coalface and any personal story that came my way.

But when a softly spoken gentleman informed me at the station that he simply did not have money to buy food and had resorted to stealing at times (something he absolutely did not want to do), I found myself having to quickly compose myself, take a breath, and continue to be emotionally present for he deserved nothing less. Falling on financially tough times can happen to anyone.

The brave retelling of his life story was one of many people who felt free to share, and thanks to white plastic chairs scattered amidst the friendly chaos, hot sausages, hugs, and constant ‘Hi, how are you? Great to see you’ greetings, helped foster a friendly vibe between team members and those they serve.

And it was sitting on a white chair that I found myself chatting with another lovely gentleman, Sammy, who quickly made it known he had one big life story to tell. He states in quick succession that he had it all, lost it all, and “would be dead” if it were not for the Salvos, a chance drop-in at Wyndham City’s Salvation Army church that was to be the catalyst for his life turning around for the better. Sammy loves the Salvos. They love him, too. And every Friday, he’s there with a big smile. I told Sammy he should write a book one day. He’s thinking about it. And, oh, he loves flashy cars, too.

It was abundantly clear all locals who gather outside the Hunger Buster have enormous gratitude and respect for Wyndham City Corps ‘Salvos on the Move’ outreach ministry and its amazing selfless team of volunteers. I do, too. They are a great bunch. Their leader, Tim Kite, is a wonderfully passionate ambassador for Christ and lives what he preaches. He cares for everyone. And so, too, James, Adele, Jan, Judith, Andrew, Otineru, Tammie and Robby, who were rostered on that Friday and welcomed this girl from the burbs with open arms.

I have no doubt the wheels on the bus will go round and round again for many more miles to come – and I can’t wait to board again.

The beloved Hunter Buster bus adorned with colourful fish and loaves of bread – inspired by the five loaves and two fishes story in Matthew 14 of the Bible.



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