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NEWS ARTICLE

Giving students helping hand of kindness

Kindness Shake organisers and volunteers (from left) Ben Poveda-Alfonso, Romal Shrestha and Nagendra Timilsina
Some of the team behind the Kindness Shake (from left) Ben Poveda-Alfonso, Romal Shrestha and international student volunteer Nagendra Timilsina.

International students in Darwin in need of a hand will receive a “kindness shake” this week thanks to a new initiative, providing free, pre-made meals.

In a partnership between Charles Darwin University and local businesses Fresh Point Café and Bamboo Lounge, 100 meals will be ready for pick-up at 6pm today from Casuarina campus.

CDU International Student Support Project Officer Ben Poveda-Alfonso said many international students had been feeling the impact of COVID-19.

“International students are particularly affected because many are hospitality workers who have lost their jobs, but they still need to pay rent, fees and buy food,” Mr Poveda-Alfonso said.

“What has been amazing is the way that our international student community has come together to help each other along with the broader community. We have a group of 10 students who will be volunteering with Kindness Shake and making today’s service possible.

“Similarly, many local businesses have been doing their bit for the community and this is another way of helping people who need some kindness during this tough time.”

Jazz Walia, owner of Fresh Point Café, said the idea to cook and deliver free meals came after seeing many people lining up at his local Centrelink office.

“I thought to myself: I am still driving, I have petrol in my car and I’m going to work, so what can I do for people who can’t do that on a regular basis?” Mr Walia said.

“Since then, Kindness Shake has been delivering sandwiches and water to people at the Palmerston Centrelink and we are happy to now be expanding our service to other members of the community.

“The support we have received for Kindness Shake has been amazing, and the more people support us, the more we can do to give others a helping hand of kindness.”

Meals will be available for people to “grab and go” from 6pm every Friday at Casuarina campus in front of the Orange 2 building, opposite Student Central.

The meals will be offered for free, or a gold coin donation. The Kindness Shake team is encouraging the local community to get involved via donations or by volunteering their time.

CDU international student Nagendra Timilsina will be volunteering with the Kindness Shake initiative. He said he wanted to help his fellow students who may be doing it tough.

“I work in aged care so I have been fortunate to keep most of my shifts, but others aren’t so well off. This is my way of giving back and helping out,” he said.

Bamboo Lounge owner Romal Shrestha, who also operates a café at CDU, said the community-led initiative was a way to help students who were far away from home and their support networks.

“We are part of the hospitality community and we know a lot of people are doing it tough, especially students who work in the industry,” he said. “We are lucky that we can continue to cook, so this is something a little extra that we can do to help out.”

For more information contact the Kindness Shake on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KindnessShakeNT/