Meet Gianna Donato - Westfield Local Heroes 2021
Giving food and support
Encompass Care Victoria
Passionate. Faithful. Dedicated
Gianna Donato is making a significant difference in the lives of marginalised, vulnerable adults and children through her work with the non-profit Encompass Care Victoria.
Gianna organises a team of volunteers who hand out food parcels to people in need every Tuesday and Wednesday. During their interactions, they tell people about the services that can help them out of a crisis.
They also make breakfast sandwiches for children at three schools in Bundoora and Mernda. She is involved in liaising with over 50 welfare organisations and sits on Emergency relief committees to help the city of Whittlesea in assisting people.
In addition, the team run a weekly community café where people have a safe place to find a listening ear and enjoy a morning tea or lunch.
Gianna’s goal is to make sure everyone who reaches out for help is heard and feels valued. One of her best rewards is seeing how acts of kindness give people hope when they are down on their luck.
Her team dug deep during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, banding together with other community organisations, local councils, churches and police to raise funds to buy food, to give to those who needed it most.
Gianna is humbled to be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero. “I am the reflection of a great organization and team of committed, and this motivates me to keep being passionate about my work. Everyone deserves a second chance or a hand up so they can stand on their own two feet,” she says.
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Encompass Care Victoria will use its funds to feed the vulnerable, start a youth project and breakfast programs in more local schools.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here