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Mackay students’ giving back projects take flight

Mackay students’ giving back projects take flight

Published:03 January 2018

TOP: Samantha Stenberg's business QLD Food Bank prepares food parcels to assist locals during the holiday period and disaster situations. BELOW: Gabrielle Miles hopes her book will support those suffering from mental illness.

Passionate about regional communities and driven to make a difference, two CQUni Mackay students have launched individual giving back projects to assist locals facing adversity.

Third year Bachelor of Psychological Science student Gabrielle Miles and Graduate Certificate in Emergency and Disaster Management student Samantha Stenberg are using their personal, study and work experiences to give back to their communities.

Gabrielle leads her project, ‘Write about it Mackay’, with the goal to publish a book on the raw truth of mental health through personal and contributed experiences.

“My aim is to create a book capturing the real battles, strategies and lessons locals have experienced with mental illness through stories, poems and artwork,” Gabrielle explains.

“Tackling the perception and reality those with mental illness face gives sufferers the confidence to confront fears, rebuild relationships with loved ones, and no longer feel isolated within the community.”

Meanwhile, Samantha’s multi-faceted food distribution and aid business, QLD Food Bank; assists those in at-risk, low socio-economic circumstances, and post natural disaster situations.

However, QLD Food Bank is not Samantha’s first business.  As the founder of Donut Empire and various apparel labels, Samantha divides her time between Mackay and the Gold Coast coordinating her consultancy services in the emergency management and safety industry, and contracting to mines rescue operations.

“Initially, QLD Food Bank was established to assist communities before, during and after a natural disaster with our National Disaster Management Services (NDMS) providing food parcels, first aid kits, water leak alarms, and clean-up efforts; however, we noticed that we were receiving enquiries for assistance all year round,” Samantha says.

“We now offer a range of fee for service options which aim to take the pressure off charity organisations and deliver various food parcels and products to residents at discounted prices.

“With the profits from these services we also distribute supplies such as water and personal hygiene products to local businesses and organisations who are helping those with very little money or loved ones during the Christmas and new year period.”

The budding entrepreneurs are both looking ahead to ensure their projects grow from ‘locals supporting locals’ to products providing a professional resource.

Gabrielle hopes her book will provide valuable information to not only those seeking mental health assistance but service providers within the community.

“I would like to align with local organisations that support mental health recovery, help spread the word about my project and raise funds to produce the book; upon publication the book and profits will be distributed to these organisations to ensure resources are available where they’re needed,” Gabrielle says.

Samantha wants to see her business grow from strength to strength where she is able to demonstrate corporate responsibility.

“Looking ahead, I anticipate to be in a position where I can employ people who train others to gain employment, deliver virtual reality education programs, and focus on working with government organisations to deliver our services,” Samantha says.

For more information and donate to the projects, visit Gabrielle’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/writeaboutitmackay and Samantha’s website www.qldfoodbank.com.au.