Loves going out and about, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and writing about her adventures!
Published April 19th 2020
Providing essential work behind the scenes
For a long time in this lucky country, we call Australia, we have taken many things for granted. Things such as toilet paper, soap, tinned food, and fresh fruit and vegetables.
I know I certainly did. I just assumed that from now until forever, supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths would always have everything I needed. I assumed that my local cafes would always provide me with my daily mocha fix. I assumed that I would always have my favourite take away meals from my favourite take away places. And of course, I assumed that I would always have toilet paper in the house! But then a deadly pandemic called coronavirus swept around the globe, hitting our shores along the way. And life as we knew it turned completely upside down.
In this new age of lockdowns and self-isolation, we can no longer take things for granted. When Australians began their panic buying and practically cleared out supermarket shelves of essential supplies such as toilet paper and pasta, it got me thinking about the importance of our food and the other goods that we consume in our everyday lives. And it especially got me thinking about the vital but largely unrecognised work that goes on behind the scenes in making sure our goods get into our supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants in the first place.
Anthony Belfiore is a Sydney-based delivery driver. He has been a delivery driver for fifteen years, with five years at his current company, Select Fresh Providores.
Select Fresh Providores is a family-run business that has been sourcing and delivering fresh produce every day for 30 years to cruise ships, restaurants, cafes, hotels, pubs and clubs, airlines, and food service businesses around Australia.
Anthony does the Canberra delivery run. "My deliveries to Canberra include delivering to a range of cafes, restaurants, hotels, Calvary hospital and Stella Bella Children's centre and includes around 20-28 deliveries a day," he tells me. "I also deliver to the three Southern Cross clubs, University House and LDK aged care facility."
Anthony has been delivering to Canberra for a decade and loves it. "I love driving in the early morning," he says, "as well as talking and building a relationship with business owners and customers, and of course, being made amazing coffees to drink all day!"
There are plenty of challenges on the job too, such as getting to his customers on time. Anthony is very particular about his customers getting their stock exactly when they need it. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are extra challenges. "During Covid it's a totally different experience," Anthony tells me. "We have gone from taking two trucks to Canberra as it was so busy before this crisis hit, to now only taking my truck and with less deliveries. Hotels are very quiet and understandably, not ordering much. Cafes have adapted to doing home delivery and takeaway and delivering fruit boxes to residents." For example, three of Anthony's Canberra customers- Red Baron, Wild Honey and Akiba-are offering customers take away and home delivery. Red Barron is also making and selling fruit boxes.
The Harvest Box from Red Baron Pantry Source:https://www.facebook.com/redbaroncanberra/photos/a.109059457233371/167051108100872/?type=3&theater
Before the pandemic, Anthony worked 6 days a week, delivering a full truck containing 10 or more pallets. "It's tough now seeing my customers which I now call my friends doing it tough in the current conditions," he says. "Restaurants, cafes and hotels that were once thriving are now having to close their eat-in venues. I'm happy some have adapted to take away and home delivery during this time. I'm hoping to see people out and about once again in Canberra as soon as this all ends."
Like all of us, Anthony is finding life under lockdown tough. With a family of three children to support, Anthony is not used to not working long hours and having his days and his pay cut back."I'm hoping it all gets back to normal sooner rather than later that's for sure," he tells me.
During this pandemic, Anthony encourages Canberrans to support our local businesses. "Please order take away or home deliveries from local businesses to keep them going through this crisis," Anthony says. "Every little bit helps, and it also flows through to the companies like mine that deliver fresh produce to them."
Like me, you may never have thought much about how we get our food and other goods, and the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that we get them. But sometimes it takes a crisis for us all to appreciate workers like Anthony and to never take things for granted ever again.