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Hospo helping hospo: Door Knock supporting the locked-down Sydney hospitality community with care packages

In another great example of the hospitality community banding together in these trying times, Door Knock’s Natalie Ng has take it upon herself to deliver care packages to Sydney hospo workers in need – even calling in the help of some friends in WA to support the effort from their lockdown-free surrounds.

With Sydney now deep into its Delta lockdown, many hospo professionals are feeling the pinch, but Ng and the team at Door Knock are helping to ease the financial strain by delivering care packages filled with fresh produce, pantry goods and a cheeky drink or three door-to-door. 

In collaboration with Steve Serrano at Steve’s Easy Squeeze (a family-owned fruit and veg supplier), and with extra pantry staple donations from the Addison Road Community Organisation, Ng is utilising her and Door Knock’s reach to make sure hospo workers in need are fed and watered.

It’s a relatively simple exercise: Serrano, Addison Road, and drinks suppliers help supply the food and drink, Ng and her team put the packs together at Door Knock, and Steve hits the road dropping them off. 

Helping fund the effort are Door Knock’s close friends at much-loved Perth bar Mechanics Institute, who recently raised a whopping $12,045 in a rollicking Monday night hospo party. Organised by Brendan Scott Grey, BA for Beam Suntory’s The Exchange, the party took advantage of WA’s restriction-free situation to raise money for those on the east coast who aren’t so lucky.

“The team at Mechanics Institute were just like: let’s do an old school hospo party, and see how many people come down,” Ng told Bars and Clubs. “It was awesome to see — as soon as they started advertising, lots of people jumped on board to help out, staff worked for free, there were guest bartenders, a lot of local breweries and brands also wanted to show their support — there’s a list of 20-30 brands beyond Beam Suntory that donated to this party.”

Inside the fundraising party at The Mechanics Institute

According to Ng, the idea for the care packages came about organically; earlier in Sydney’s Delta wave, and before restrictions tightened to their current degree, Door Knock was operating as a pantry of sorts, with local bars and restaurants donating unused stock for out-of-work hospo employees to come in and grab.

But with this becoming impossible due to the current state of lockdown, Ng and her collaborator Serrano have taken to the road.

It’s a great example of ‘hospo helping hospo’, and Ng is keen to point out other venues in Sydney who are also doing similar deals for their community: namely Burrow Bar, Australian Venue Co and the Duke in Enmore. 

“I think everyone is trying to keep busy, but also do their part to support everyone else. We’ve seen the struggle from the first lockdown so this time round we are slightly more prepared to know how to restructure our businesses, and help out in ways that are the most beneficial.

“Obviously with the Delta strain, it’s more intense than we could’ve prepared for and how long the lockdown was going to be, but I think everyone banding together is really important at the moment because it shows a bit of community spirit — and especially in hospitality when you’re not in your bars, working side-by-side, it’s really quite tough.

“Hospo workers are such social humans… and receiving a little care package and everything is always a nice thing — everyone loves gifts!” 

Ng also encourages any other bar owners who’d like to do something similar to follow in her footsteps: “If anyone needs a hand with figuring things out in terms of spreadsheets and logistics and whatever, they can reach out to me personally and I’d be happy to help.”

If you’d like more information or want to enquire about the Door Knock care packages for yourself, please email knockknock@doorknock.com.au with your address, full name, phone number and a photo of your RSA. 

Header image: via @jonothandc on Instagram

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