Category Archives: Collections

Volunteering for Christmas and feeding the homeless every week

In my last newsletter and just before Christmas I put out a call for volunteers to help with the preparation and service of lunch on Christmas Day at Gethsemane Community in Petersham. It’s my usual Christmas Day gig – and as the year wound up, I took on the additional duties of trying to organise the volunteers for The Christmas Project. Read more and see the video to refresh your memory.

Making Christmas Day 2015 a joy for community, volunteers and homeless people

Here’s how it happened – starring  Zulu’s Community/Sue, Gethsemane/Myree, Vic, Our Big Kitchen, Live, Love, Learn and volunteers

  • I offered to assist Gethsemane Community‘s Sr Myree Harris to find and co-ordinate volunteers for Christmas Day and also to help fellow volunteer, Vic, with the sorting and delivery of hampers to boarding houses around the inner west.
  • I contacted Our Big Kitchen to ask for help in finding volunteers for the day and also to supply vegetables for the making of salads for the lunch.
  • OBK put the word out on their Facebook page and also introduced Live, Love, Learn – a children’s art program, who co-incidently were going to be making cookies and gift bags on Christmas Eve for (ideally) homeless and disadvantaged people on Christmas Day – but did not have a recipient. Divine providence was at work here as this perfect match was made! On Christmas Eve, I went to OBK to collect 100 beautifully decorated cookie bags and thank the 85 children who prepared these package. The afternoon was spent doing the final packing of gift bags and hamper deliveries to boarding houses.
  • My nephew, Tim, helped me prepare 3 industrial sized salads (in a tiny kitchen) for the Christmas Day lunch.
  • On Christmas Day, around 35 volunteers assisted to put on a memorable day for around 80 visitors and their carers, preparing and serving a delicious feast and truly enjoying each other’s company.

That’s the power of community, collaboration and co-operation – and Zulu’s Community.

Thank you to everyone who contributed goods, gifts, food, time, energy, attention and support to make this day run so smoothy and so well.  

On going – Sue and Vic team up to feed Sydney’s homeless

One of the key outcomes of this short but intense lead up to this festive season service is, that after 4 years of volunteering for Gethsemane, a very key connection was made. Vic, who has worked with Myree for 6 years with the running of Christmas Day lunch, was -dare I say, shocked and surprised that I could ‘take over’ and run things so smoothly and drama-free.


When Vic asked for my input into a community lunch that he has run for 3 years at a church in Darlinghurst, I said yes.

Each Thursday, Vic and a small team of volunteers prepare and serve fruit salad, burgers or sandwiches and coffee to around 40 homeless people. I have been volunteering most Thursdays now, and during his university break, so has Tim.

These few hours have become an important way for me to keep grounded and connected to my community. I look forward to this time and prioritise it, because it’s a tangible, practical way to serve my fellow human beings. I help feed people without any other agenda than to make a difference IN that moment.

We are a small team – from 4-7 people each week and this motley crew, called the ‘dream team’, are a really lovely bunch. It’s a small, but mighty effort – and we need more volunteers in our dream team.


If you can contribute 2.5 hours on a Thursday morning, even if it’s now and then, to assist us with feeding a small segment of Sydney’s homeless community – please contact me and I’ll connect you with Vic, who will be thrilled to have you as part of the ‘dream team’.


Here’s what Monica Olander from C3 Church said about Accidental Aid Worker:  Just finished reading your book Accidental Aid Worker. Thank you for sharing your journey – not just a how-to on becoming involved in community work – but a very raw, personal & honest account of your emotional, spiritual, physical & mental journey of life. Funny, tragic & inspirational all rolled into one, I admire your vulnerability, down-to-earth attitude and your courage to face both mountains and valleys, and to traverse them both. What a pleasure to get to know you further through reading your memoirs and of course, to have you on our team at our C3 Cares Community Lunch. You are greatly appreciated & I’m looking forward to Book No. 2!

Candles for Community 2014 – for Sri Lanka, Cambodia AND a book project!

Ordering between: November 4 – 15 December for your Christmas delivery.

It’s a short campaign this year with less than 7 weeks to order your candles and gifts ( and counting down!) If you think “Ah…I have plenty of time..” well you may, but don’t leave it too late. Last orders will be taken on 15 December with the very last dispatch on  18 December.

As well as some of your favorites, I’ve introduced some newbies to the range! This year I have introduced:

  • A new flavour – Gardenia! It has already been popular with all of my lucky testers receiving samples – and loving that fresh, floral scent so much, I added it for everyone to enjoy!
  • HOT Pink now joins the popular mosaic familyand it’s as pretty as can be. It’s bound to be a hit with the pink lovers.
  • El Grande is the biggie of the range – an elegant large jar with a lid for those who like their candles, well, BIG! It has an estimated burn time of 85 hrs.
  •  And most excitingly -the Zulu community bag is here! I customised what is a monk’s bag and had them custom made in Cambodia. It comes in red or orange, with a donation to communities included! This will be free for you if your order is over $150
  • Here is the Candles for Community 2014 -2015 flyer that you can send to friends, family and colleagues. Your support in getting the word out there is so appreciated!

Give gifts that give back!

Each candle and card contains a donation component, which I donate at the end of the campaign to my chosen communities. The donation ranges from $2 – $6.50, and some items I have made the donation exclusive to a cause.

ACCIDENTAL AID WORKER – the story about Zulu’s Community over the last 10 years.

Accidental aid worker cover

Since 2005, I’ve been working voluntarily to develop creative opportunities and campaigns that engage and inspire others to take action to help people in need. Candles for Community has been one of the most loved and enduring campaigns that helps me to raise awareness and funds to support communities in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and organisations that support refugees and vulnerable communities in Australia.

I’m currently writing and self-publishing my memoir called Accidental aid worker, which is a journey through my adventures and experiences working with quirky individuals in far flung places who have devoted their lives to supporting people in their communities. Part of the profits from this years’ Candles for Community will help to fund the publication of this work, which also guide people with similar desires to craft their own campaigns and community ventures. You can read about this project by visiting

I’ll be writing more about Sri Lanka in the coming weeks – and also about Bruno’s Community . I’ll be in Sri Lanka late January – so hope to spend our donation dollars in communities while I’m there doing final research on my book with Bruno. You will certainly find out more about that – when my book is launched in late June (that’s the plan) with my very own Geraldine Cox by my side!

 Dedicated to Sunrise – the Sunrise Collection!


GroupshotsmallThere is a collection of gifts dedicated to SUNRISE and all funds raised from these items as stated will be donated.

It includes the GODDESS candle(dedicated to Geraldine), Sunrise kids cards and the orange Zulu Community bag – where the donation from those goods is dedicated to helping the kids. Have a look at the For Sunrise and Geraldine collection here!


The short answer is no – I don’t have a big audacious figure to shoot for. I just want to see how we go. I say WE – because it’s up to how well we do in selling, making and providing your gifts for Christmas, as to how much moolah I can give to my communities.

SO, if you love my candles, cards, gifts, flavors, creativity and efforts to build and support community, PLEASE order your gifts from Candles for Community, and tell all your friends, family and colleagues about us.

Everybody wins here.

Sue-21Thanks for your support,

and enjoy your candles and gifts.

Sue x


Fundraising update 15 November 2012

Here is the fundraising update for Zulu’s Community – 15 November 2012.

We’ve exceed our expectation for overall fundraising with $7510 raised so far!

  • Fundraising events where Geraldine Cox was the speaker, raised a total of $6880 over 2 days.
  • Candles for Community – still at the half way mark is lagging behind expectations – but still doing respectably at $630 – with 5 weeks to go til CHRISTMAS!

I have to sell a LOT of candles to make it to $3000 donation!

The donation promise is 50% of my profits. I have worked out the figures and Sunrise still get their share of what YOU spend on Candles – and I have to “make do” on my split!

ORDERING FINISHES 5 DECEMBER 2012 – SO PLEASE – if you’re still contemplating candles for Christmas – get your order in!



Computer equipment for refugees

MAY 2003

Do you have a pre-loved, good condition computer you are not using? Does your workplace plan to upgrade computers, and thus have used PCs or laptops they can donate? If you do – this equipment will help provide computer training to African migrant and refugee women in Sydney.


The non-profit Federation of the Congolese Council of Australia (FCCA) is initiating a computer training class in May 2012 for African women who are migrants and refugees in Sydney. The class will enable these women to learn valuable computer skills to help them gain employment. The ongoing classes will run on weekends, with training provided by volunteers.


  • 20 good condition desktop PC’s equipped with monitor, keyboard, and mouse (preferably loaded
  • with basic Microsoft Office – Word and Excel)
  • 5 good condition laptops
  • Microsoft Office basic software package – to include Word, Excel and Outlook
  • Microsoft Office training materials
  • 25 USB flash drives
  • Transportation support (vehicles and drivers, or stipends for petrol or public transportation). Note: most participants live in the Western suburbs such as Fairfield, Merrylands, Cabramatta, Liverpool, Auburn, Granville and Parramatta.

If you are able to donate a computer or training materials, or can refer FCCA to suitable resources that can help support this important initiative, please let us know.

Donors will be acknowledged with a Certificate of Appreciation and on FCCA’s website.

ABOUT FCCA: The Federation of the Congolese Council of Australia (FCCA – ABN: 55108278247) is dedicated to supporting the needs of Congolese refugees and migrants in Australia. FCCA is the peak body for Congolese Associations throughout Australia, and was established in 2009. They work collaboratively with other African networks, and are a non-profit, non-political and non-religious association. FCCA has been a member of the Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW (ECC) since 2010. FCCA’s president serves on the ECC’s management and executive committees. There are approximately 650 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo in NSW, and more than 3000 in Australia. Most have fled the war-ravaged NE Congo. Visit

FCCA volunteers support the Congolese community in many ways, including assisting with re-settlement resources to newly arrived migrant and refugee families, helping with housing, English and traditional language courses, training and clothing donations. They also refer families and individuals to essential education, health care, employment and counseling services. FCCA also organises annual cultural and sport events to provide opportunities for networking with one another as well as with their Australian neighbours.