When BSSC Year 12 student, Ethan Marsh, turned up at school on the last day before remote learning began, he wasn’t empty handed. He not only arrived with special gift hampers for many of his classmates, but even his teachers and his bus driver.

The ‘Mental Health Gift Hampers’ are an initiative started by Ethan’s parents Carly and Darren Noble of The Agri-Food Network.

Carly put the first hamper together this year after a fellow farmer “casually mentioned” he had contemplated suicide.

“I hadn’t realised the stress that COVID-19 had put on the farm and their business until it came up in conversation,” she said.

The farmer’s export operations were on the brink as the pandemic blocked his capacity to sell to their normal buyers. What began with Carly “grabbing some stuff—chocolate, olives and other products—and chucking it in a box” has grown into an initiative that distributes dozens of hampers every week.

Their generosity has extended to BSSC during Wellbeing Week, with 50 hampers donated to the college valued at over $1000. The hampers will be distributed to families and students doing it hard during remote learning.

The goods are donated by businesses from across the region and put together in living rooms including Ethan’s.

“Ethan really enjoys being part of the process,” Carly said. “He must have packed over 300 hampers and has been out with us many times to deliver hampers to people within the public who have been nominated.

“On the evening prior to lockdown, Ethan hand-chose what went into each hamper for his classmates and teachers. He was rapt to hear how thrilled his teachers were to receive the gifts.”

If you can support The Agri-Food Network in any way with donated items/products they will in-turn promote your business for free through their Facebook and Instagram page and list of stakeholders.   Further information contact Carly or Darren at theagrifoodnetworkvic@gmail.com or on 0439 374 549.

It’s so important to remain connected during these times and make sure we are looking out for our friends and family. Do you know someone who deserves a mini-hamper? Email events@bssc.edu.au with the name of the person you are nominating and a sentence or two about why they deserve something nice.  Successful recipients and their nominators will be contacted, and contact-free delivery will be organised.