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I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Yas Daniel Matbouly, the founder and president of the Queensland-based not-for-profit Serving Our People.
Regarded as a pandemic success story, Serving Our People (or SOP) was established in March 2020 with the objective of serving those most in need across the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Logan and Northern New South Wales. SOP’s work varies from something as simple as delivering a meal to someone in need, to assisting with flood and fire relief efforts, and helping to rehome individuals after they have been displaced.
In this interview, Yas shares an overview of his organisation and the great work it is achieving across the Gold Coast and beyond.
Can you tell us how it all started?
It started with pure intention (no vision and without any ulterior motivation) to help the elderly during the lockdown in March 2020 because of COVID 19. I felt that I needed to take action, I am fit and healthy and needed to do something for others that were at high risk in lockdown. Especially during the pandemic there were a lot of shortage of supplies, and our elderly in our community were feeling very helpless as they were the most vulnerable. A few of the Baha’i friends heard about the initiative and wanted to assist by serving in any way they could: we quickly had up to 50 volunteers and 2 years later we are over 1200 volunteers, have assisted over 52,000 recipients, and have pioneered in collaborating with other charities.
Today, Serving Our People complements and assists hundreds of local charities who lack the logistics to address their backlog. Our aim is to get assistance to recipients in an expedited manner. These recipients include but are not limited to: children, young mothers, struggling families, the homeless, domestic violence victims, refugees, women who have been released from prison and the elderly.
We provide a free express delivery service between donors and destitute people. Some of these vital goods include furniture, meals, baby foods, prams, cots, groceries and medicines.
We have also been named as Australia’s fastest growing charity. That alone means to us that there is a huge demand of our service, and we have an obligation to serve. We also created a culture of serving with a lot of younger friends as we made it easy to serve.
We are every day people whose forefront of our efforts is to serve, in any capacity, those that are in need in and from different walks of life.
Why is SOP important for you personally and what motivates you or keeps you going with it even when you come up against challenges?
Serving Our People is now my life, my family’s life and my friends’ lives. It’s a great platform that allows me and everyone to serve–to walk the path of service. It feels good to help others and it is the right thing to be there for fellow humans that are struggling. We truly have changed many individuals’ lives.
We found that when we do a delivery to someone in need, it’s more than just pick-up and delivery. It’s a conversation, it builds trust, it’s a loving and caring gesture, it brings hope, it tells people they are not alone, it’s a support mechanism, it demonstrates inclusion and belong, and it’s a means of delivery much needed resources.
I will never give up on Serving Our People, and I pray to God to continue giving me the strength to serve as many people as possible and create something that can serve millions with the hope to solve unresolved problems in our society.
Do you have any examples or short stories you can share of how it’s affecting peoples lives?
Yes. Three examples come to mind and they are recent. There are also many that we cannot share due to the sensitivity and vulnerability of the recipients.
The first is that we helped a homeless man and his dog. He is not homeless anymore and is being interviewed for work as we speak.
Secondly, a young mother suffered from cancer and with the help of Serving Our People we were able to help her with her medical bills, future treatment bills and look after her children by delivering meals and groceries. Because of her chemo treatments, she was not able to look after her children, had lost her job and was loosing hope. She is now fully recovered and again back to caring for her happy family.
Lastly, being able to mobilise quickly to help thousands in Northern Rivers during the recent flood disasters where so many were displaced from their homes and who returned to homes soaking with unhygienic and unhealthy water. Our team has been serving there since February and will continue for another year or so until issues are resolved.
How can people get involved and help?
SOP is proudly supported by a range of local and national organisations including The Abedian Foundation, Next Level Racing, HomeCorp, Mater Foundation, Brisbane Real Estate, Schiller Legal, Hutchinson Builders and Kollosche.
Individuals and businesses interested in getting involved are encouraged to visit sop.org.au.
Thank you so much, Yas, for taking the time to share this with us.
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