Published On: 13 October 2021Categories: Stories

Faye Hodgetts is the face, voice and heart of Loaves and Fishes and Devonport Chaplaincy, taking all calls and greeting guests to the office in Don Road, Devonport.

Faye has the right mix of knowledge and compassion for those seeking food, information or simply to be heard when they make contact.

And it’s never been about the money for Faye, who worked voluntarily for six years with Loaves and Fishes and our predecessor, SecondBite, before being offered a business administration traineeship in April.

The former Anvers chocolatier has also volunteered at the RSPCA, an aged care centre at Latrobe, and at the Masters Games before discovering the emergency food relief organisation.

“It’s about giving back,” she said.

“My husband has a good job and we have enough money,” she said.

Giving back because ‘I can”

“I want to give back because I can.

“I also know what it’s like to struggle financially, having grown up in Housing Commission suburbs around Hobart.

“I wore second hand clothes, got bullied, couldn’t afford to go on school excursions or away for school holidays. Our parents always made Christmas special with decorations and nice food, even though they couldn’t afford to buy us the presents we wanted.

“There were times when my parents had to ask for help.”

The mother of two takes about six calls a day from people needing emergency food relief. There’s at least one walk-in a week. They range from women escaping domestic violence, children worried about frail parents unable to get to the shops or to afford food, migrants, students, and families who can’t get enough food.

Everyone gets Faye’s full attention. She listens to their stories and then meets the need.

She almost knows by heart the 220 agencies where Loaves and Fishes delivers food and hope to Tasmanians doing it tough. If unsure, she refers to a nearby volume of neatly bound, laminated sheets she has compiled from various sources. These contain a range of services, from housing and health care, to clothing and food.

“I love feeling like I’ve helped someone by pointing them in the right direction,” she said.

“Some of the stories really get to you.

“I also didn’t realise the extent of the need until I started working here. And, it’s certainly grown.”

Faye said she had become a more skilled listener and communicator as a result of the studies in her traineeship.

Loaves and Fishes general manager Aaron Kropf said Faye exemplified the organisational culture.

“She works hard, she cares, and nothing is too much trouble,” he said.

“The fact that she worked for so long as a volunteer speaks to her willingness to serve unconditionally.

“Faye has also taken the time to learn all there is about the organisation, to improve her skills, and to train others.

“We are proud to have her as a much-loved and respected member of staff.”

Faye said she was grateful for the opportunity to work at Loaves and Fishes, and previously SecondBite.

“They saw something in me and I’m thankful.”

By Paul O’Rourke

More Stories like this…