John Flack: Pathway Community Centre
The charity where people come back to return the favour
Something special happens to the people who have been helped by Pathway Community Centre. Once they are back on their feet, they tend to come back and give back.
Pathway is a Christian charity that provides food, counselling and interest-free loans to people in need.
Under the guidance of director John Flack an army of volunteers provide support to 9,000 people in need, ranging from the homeless and unemployed to people who are feeling isolated, school students and disadvantaged youth.
John is employed to work for the charity three days a week but inevitably works seven.
His philosophy to give people a hand up rather than a handout.
“The food really is a means to an end. The end result that we really hope for is that people will gain some resilience and some options in their lives.”
He tells the story of a woman who has started paying off her electricity bill thanks to the money she has saved by not having to buy food.
Restoring a sense of purpose and connection can be part of the process too. People who have been helped by Pathway often come back as volunteers.
“They’ve come in because they want to take the opportunity to give back for the help they have received.”
John says he feels privileged to have been voted a Westfield Local Hero.
The organisation will use its $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant to fund much-needed maintenance of its community centre.
John also hopes to use a portion to fund solar panels to reduce the centre’s $14,000 electricity cost.