Service Without Limits
May 23 2022
When a small band of volunteers set out to help people in need when Covid first struck two years ago, they could not have imagined how the demand for their services might grow.
Serving Our People (SOP) is now a fully-fledged charity with four full-time staff, over 20 casual staff, an advisory board, a team of professional advisors and more than 1,000 volunteers.
The SOP team now collect and deliver a wide range of items, from meals through to furniture, to those in need on the Gold Coast, Logan, Brisbane and Northern NSW.
The largely self-funded service has reached over 50,000 recipients with a wide range of needs in a short period of time.
“We went from the pandemic to the Afghan refugee crisis to a natural disaster with so much flooding. It has been an eventful two years,” says SOP CEO and Founder Yas Daniel Matbouly.
“People are really suffering and experiencing misfortune on many different levels.”
SOP has amplified its impact by partnering up with other charities and services who specialise in issues such as domestic violence, alcoholism, mental health and disability.
“The service has evolved into bespoke care, whereby we support individuals and accompany them through their struggles and help them to work through their issues,” says Mr Matbouly.
“These issues range from homelessness to a single parent with cancer who can’t pay the bills, to a 97-year-old lady whose house got flooded.
“We never wish to turn anyone in need away, but at the same time there are some things that are out of our scope, so we refer those people to professionals who have that know-how.
“There are so many amazing charities out there doing wonderful work and our strength is in our collaborative approach and working together.”
SOP also works with restaurants and hotels on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane who donate meals that would otherwise go to waste. Those meals are collected by SOP and delivered to other charities who can serve the food to those who need it.
This year SOP is acting on plans to establish what will be Queensland’s first free supermarket. Non perishable food items are collected from various donation points across the city and made available to those who need them the most from SOPLEX – the charity’s first official Corporate Head Quarters, located in Mermaid Beach.
“That idea has come from the people we are serving,” says Mr Matbouly. “We are constantly asking how we can help, how we can dig deeper and take social action.”
Mr Matbouly acknowledges the support and backing from corporate organisations and local businesses in enabling the forward-thinking charity to fast-track its efforts.
Many of those who have lent their time and expertise will step out for the Serving Our People Inc. 2nd Annual Gala Fundraising Dinner on Saturday 28 May at The Star Gold Coast.
Kollosche is the major sponsor for the gala event which last year raised $441,000 through tickets sales and a lively auction where Kollosche Auctioneer agents put their skills to good use to elicit top dollar for cars, holidays and service packages.
“We are extremely proud to throw our support behind Serving Our People for a second year running, for the gala and also behind the scenes to help in any way we can,” says Managing Director Michael Kollosche. “We are grateful for this platform to give back to our community.”
Unwanted furniture from homes listed through Kollosche has been donated to SOP for distribution to flood-affected households, while Kollosche Commercial has leased tenancies within SOPLEX precinct, the revenue from which pays for the charity’s administration.
In March, Kollosche donated $25,000 through the Kollosche Community Fund and the New Projects team donated $5,000 last December to support SOP’s Christmas drive.
“Corporate and business support is our bloodline,” says Mr Matbouly. “It is so important for the survival of the charity to have Kollosche and all of these businesses supporting us.
“I’ve been in the corporate world since 1996 and it’s very refreshing to be so hands-on in doing something with a beautiful purpose.
“Our greater goal is to change the mindset of humanity globally by creating consciousness to do an act of service as part of one’s life routine. That could be a daily act, a monthly act or even once a year. There is immense power in the simple act of helping another in need.”
You can learn more about Serving Our People at www.sop.org.au