Christine Mastello started a food bank in Lake Macquarie in 2013 with her own savings. At the time, her 15-year-old child was recovering from a stroke and her five-year-old with autism had four appointments a week. That didn’t stop Christine from seeing a need in her community and meeting it.
Christine’s not-for-profit, Southlakes Incorporated, now runs two walk-in food banks with three home delivery areas and supplies breakfast clubs at six schools. Southlakes hands out hundreds of hampers, pre-cooked meals and essentials every week – including clothing.
Southlakes delivered free food to 26,000 people during the first two years of COVID-19. It also donated $1.2 million to homeless groups all around New South Wales when lockdowns meant volunteers couldn’t help in person.
Christine also founded Community Hair Project, which is now nationwide. Volunteer hairdressers offer free haircuts and a toiletry kit to those in need. The program passed its 50,000th cut in 2022.