A modern day fairytale

So many charities have a really high profile. Ozharvest does amazing work collecting leftover food and delivering it to charities in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Newcastle. Only established in 2004, it has a high level of recognition and regularly garners press coverage. They were even involved in a Masterchef Australia challenge back in May 2012.

Last night I saw a television ad for the Red Cross calling for donations of blood type O and A as stocks are low. I’ll be honest, I’m no do-gooder but this is such an important cause! Giving blood saves lives. I’ll be donating in a couple of weeks on my next day off. If you’re wondering, I’m blood type A positive. I love how cheerful that sounds as if happy blood cells are excitedly floating through my veins.

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Unlike the Red Cross and Ozharvest, some organisations quietly go about their business without fanfare or promotion. Long ago, my dad told me the story behind Our Lady of Snows, a soup kitchen located near Central Station in Sydney. After winning almost half a million through the lottery, siblings George and Nola Mezher opened Our Lady of Snows restaurant to feed and clothe the hungry. The Mezhers also set up 14 suburban refuges with short-term to medium-term stays for people who had fallen on hard times and raised money for charity. In 1983, George and Nola were awarded the Order of Australia for their services to the community.

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A few years ago, I’d heard murmurings that Our Lady of Snows had closed. The signage remained so I’d always hoped it was still running. Last weekend I walked from my place to coffee roasters Toby’s Estate for a coffee tasting (aka cupping). People often complain that I walk too fast and it still took about an hour. On my way through Enmore, I saw the familiar Our Lady of Snows logo on the side of a van. I was so excited, I had to stop and take a snap on my phone. It endures!

I was very young when my father recounted the story one day as we drove past the train station and I remember how entranced I was. Forget Cinderella, the story of Our Lady of Snows is my idea of a fairytale.

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