The Story Behind the Charity
Sapphire Life Opportunities is a new charity that formed up in 2019, with the intent of addressing social isolation in the Bega Valley Shire/Sapphire Coast.
A lot of the team that formed Sapphire Life Opportunities have been involved in the Sapphire Coast Community Christmas Day Lunch, which had been running for 7 years before the start of the charity. The idea behind the lunch is that “no one eats alone.”
“The Christmas day lunch is about making sure no one is alone on Christmas, but we always had the thought, how do we do this more than one day a year?” - Janita Fernando, Founding CEO
Sapphire Life Opportunities was born out of that concept, and now rather than it being, “no one eats alone” it's now, “no one is alone.”
During the summer of 2019/20 the Sapphire Coast and surrounding areas were hit by devastating bushfires. During this time, a lot of clothing and food was being donated to the area with no one to process it. Sapphire Life Opportunities was contacted and through that we were able to get a shop front in Merimbula to open a disaster relief center, which eventually turned into our Community Food Pantry.
On the first of February we opened the doors to our shop, and within the first week we had over 400 people come through the doors needing things from food to clothes, to furniture.
Our food pantry is run exclusively by volunteers which allows us to open 6 days a week. We have such an amazing team of volunteers who want to show Love, Grace and Mercy to our community.
Sapphire Life Opportunities was really born out of Sapphire Life Church. So when it came to naming the charity, we always knew it would carry the Sapphire Life name. It shows where we are, and that we are here to bring life through Love, Grace and Mercy. And the word opportunities comes from the fact that we are a charity that isn't bound to helping people in any particular way. So whilst these days we are mostly thought of as a community food pantry, we aren't bound to that. We are committed to addressing social isolation in any way/opportunity we can.