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The ultimate comfort food

Nayda Hernandez    April 9, 2024    4 min read   

This world is a better place thanks to our Greater Springfield community champion, Jacqui Martin.

You can’t help but be charmed by her fun-loving, bobbly personality, and compassionate spirit.

She has lived in the local area for over 30 years, where she is proud to have raised her incredible children and continues to work and volunteer in the community alongside her husband David Martin.

In this interview I am delighted to tell the readers about how Jacqui is making sure that the memory of her late friend lives on through her food charity, Lisa’s Lunches.

Jacqui Martin, left, with husband David Martin.

Q: What is the origin of Lisa’s Lunches?

A: In November 2017, my good friend, Lisa Heuston died from cervical cancer at the age of 39.

From her journey, I realised the financial strain on young families when going through such a traumatic time. She had a husband and young family and while she spent most of her illness in hospital, keeping things going at home with some normality was challenging.

Financially it was difficult. Hospital car parking is expensive and the day to day bills continued while they went from two wages to one plus the extra medical expenses.

One of the best ways to help young families who live in the Greater Springfield area and all across Queensland is to provide lunch packs for school age children to help with the burden of expense and time when your life is turned upside down by cancer.

Q: Tell me about the community spirit involved.

A: Our volunteers at Lisa’s Lunches love what we do! The families we help are often overwhelmed with the generosity that comes 100% from the Greater Springfield and Ipswich community.

I would like to let the readers know that we do not receive any grants or funding. All our fundraising is done locally. Thank you to Local News Publications for this opportunity to inform readers about Lisa’s Lunches and how easy it is to be involved.

We are a welcoming team. Lisa’s Lunches makes it easy for the community to be part of this ongoing project. One way people help is by purchasing items that we use in our lunch packs.

We also have volunteers who prefer to deliver lunch packs to our families. Another way to contribute is by hosting a fundraiser in the workplace, or attend one of our fundraising

events during the year.

Q: Why is this project important?

A: Lisa’s Lunches currently has 24 families on our register that we are assisting with lunch packs. The number of families we help from term to term can vary, depending on where they are on their cancer journey. Some of our families get through the other side of their treatment and others sadly have a loved one who passes away.

Either way, we take them off our register and are ready to add new families that need our assistance. Or families and individuals need a referral to receive help from Lisa’s Lunches.

Lisa’s Lunches also offers one-off vouchers for families who are finding themselves in financial distress. In 2023, Lisa’s Lunches gave away more than $15,000 worth of vouchers and over 11,500 lunch packs.

Q: As a very busy person, what helps you keep going?

A: My inspiration comes from being able to help those who are vulnerable, who can’t help themselves or are struggling.

I have always been community minded. I have always enjoyed giving back to the community and helping those in our local community. It’s always great to see how much of a difference it makes to individuals and families when we help them and they realise it has come from complete strangers.

To be honest, volunteering is very rewarding. You often don’t get a lot of thanks for the work that you do, but knowing that you’ve been able to make a difference to an individual or family is extremely satisfying and fulfilling.

It’s nice I can share this experience with my husband, David Martin and be a wonderful role model to my four children and nearly 5 grandchildren – and the broader community.

Q: What are ways the community could support you?

A: Lisa’s Lunches is a not-for-profit community group. We have a committee of five who are an amazing team, including my ever supportive husband, David, who has championed me through the entire journey of Lisa’s Lunches.

We appreciate any support the community can offer us.

Readers can contact us through a Facebook page or email me jacqui@lisaslunches.com.au.

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Nayda Hernandez