The story of Hayley’s Cupboard at St. John’s Drop-In Centre is that of one young woman, Hayley – who, after watching the movie, Schindler’s List, was inspired to take action in doing something for people who did not have enough food.

She used all the money she had left from her wages as a waitress, and got together a box of groceries and household items worth around $60. Hayley was not rich, she couldn’t necessarily afford to give her wages away, but she received joy from giving to the less fortunate.

St. John’s Crisis Centre did not have any storage space at the time to house all these items, until a generous woman donated $500 to buy a storage cupboard and more groceries. The cupboard was named Hayley’s Cupboard, in honour of Hayley’s kind and generous spirit.

Many other people, including school children, have shared Hayley’s vision. We outgrew the original cupboard space in order to stock all kinds of tinned food and non-perishable packet food such as rice, noodles, pasta, and meals in a tin like spaghetti, baked beans, sausages, tuna, tinned vegetables, soups, powdered milk, coffee and tea. We also stock razors, shampoo and conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet rolls, laundry powder and household cleaning items, as well as pots, pans and utensils to assist with setting up a home.

Since those early days, our needs have grown and are still growing, as the numbers of needy families, couples and single people, plus those who are “sleeping out” increase annually. We are always needing more of the above, and adding to that blankets, linen, towels, shoes, socks, jeans and warm clothes for both men and women, in good condition.

We also need new singlets, nappies and clothes for babies whose mothers’ come to us for assistance.

It may have started as a single cupboard, but the story and generosity of Hayley’s Cupboard is applicable to all of us, at some point in our lives.

To find out more about how to run a collection for Hayley’s Cupboard, donate any of the items needed to hand out at the Crisis Centre, or make any other donation, click here