Poppy Venakis first joined the Fitzroy Soup Van's Saturday night crew about 12 months ago after a suggestion from best friend Zahara to come along and get involved. Despite having a busy daytime job and juggling parenting of young children, aged eight and 10, Poppy hasn’t looked back since.
“I just fell in love with volunteering alongside this amazing group of people,” says the mother-of-two. “I also just fell in love with the work. You get to meet so many people and you come to understand that everyone’s situation is different and life can change in an instant.”
It wasn’t that long ago that Poppy had found herself without a home, and having to depend on the kindness of her family and friends following the breakdown of her marriage.
“I was given a second chance and, thankfully, I found my feet again. I got a job cleaning and then worked my way to becoming regional manager for @Ecoluv Green Cleaning and Housekeeping. My bosses, Pauline Walker and Lou Bacher, have been very supportive and great mentors. They have played a big part in my journey.”
Poppy says she gets this kind of support from her Vinnies family, too.
“What really resonated with me was the lack of judgement,” says Poppy. “Everyone is so accepting.
“I became a ‘Vannie’ because I want to give back and teach my kids that money isn’t all there is in life. What really matters is that you have people who care, who really care about you.”
Poppy is now, the new Fitzroy Soup Van's President and is loving the challenges this new position brings.
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