Over the past 30 years more than a million people across the Gold Coast have reason to be grateful to Reverend Robyn and Reverend Dr Lindsay Burch and the not-for-profit organisation Havafeed Relief which they founded.
The couple started Havafeed in 1994 with a van and donated loaves of bread and it is now a regular fixture at the Mermaid Beach Community Centre where, six days a week, visitors can enjoy a hot meal, pick up a hamper, connect with others or talk with a local support service if they need help.
Robyn (72) and Lindsay (75) have dedicated their retirement years to Havafeed and in recognition of their dedication and unstinting generosity they have been named as the Queensland Senior Australians of the Year
Havafeed was started when the indefatigable couple saw a growing need to help disadvantaged families, pensioners, the homeless and victims of domestic violence. Havafeed Relief currently provides more than 300 meals a week and has raised almost $2 million in donations over the last 30 years.
Lindsay and Robyn start before dawn to make sure they have enough food and volunteers for each day's work. As well as providing food, Havafeed also offers a safe, judgement free space for anyone looking for support with volunteers available for a meaningful conversation.
The organisation receives no funding and relies entirely on donations from the community. The couple have never asked for wages, often using their own funds to keep their work afloat.
The 2024 Australian of the Year for Queensland is the Founder of Men of Business Academy, Marco Renai. The senior secondary school focuses on empowering at-risk-young men with the skills, knowledge and confidence to be happy, healthy and successful.
2024 Young Australian of the Year for Queensland is Australia's most successful Olympian and UNICEF Ambassador Emma McKeon, while the 2024 Local Hero for Queensland is co-founder of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History and outback tourism operator David Elliott.
The Queensland recipients will join those from the other states and territories for the national awards to be announced on January 25, 2024.
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