After an anxious wait Kogarah Storehouse general manager Lala Noronha was finally congratulated this week as the 2020 Kogarah Woman of the Year .
Her achievement was announced on March 5, but Ms Noronha had to isolate as she feared she may have come in contact with someone who had COVID -19.
She recently got the all clear, so Kogarah MP Chris Minns got the chance to present her with her certificate and flowers yesterday.
Ms Noronha was due to go to the official ceremony in the city on March 5 but decided not to take any chances.
"I wasn't in direct contact with someone who had the coronavirus but I knew someone who had been, so I isolated," she said.
"We have many people coming into the Kogarah Storehouse and I didn't want to risk anyone's health," she said.
"I was very anxious. You hear about it. You watch it on TV but you never think it is you. It's not a good feeling."
This week, after getting the all clear, Ms Noronha was able to belatedly celebrate her recognition as the 2020 Kogarah Woman of the Year.
"Lala has made an outstanding contribution to the St George community by helping people who are less fortunate, disadvantaged and in need of help," Mr Minns said.
"The impact she has made in her role as the General Manager of The Kogarah Storehouse has been remarkable.
"Since commencing in the role in February 2015, Lala has led her organisation through a period of unprecedented growth. The number of people seeking and receiving help has tripled.
"She has grown existing programs and delivered new ones, expanding the number of people reached with vital services and assistance.
"The emergency food program is a core service with more than 3,000 free parcels provided annually.
"Lala also introduced a free weekly community lunch program. This not only provides a nutritious meal for so many, but also creates an opportunity for people to socialise and make new friends."
Other programs Lala has been instrumental in creating and running include:
- 'Tiny Toes' - which allows mothers to come together with their children.
- 'Women's Health and Wellbeing'
- The St George Mental Health Social Club
- Senior Chinese Social Group
- Seniors' Fitness Group
- Get Crafty @ the Storehouse
- St George Community HUB Expo
"We are lucky to have women as dedicated and talented as Lala in our community to provide such an important service," Mr Minns said.
Kogarah Storehouse was established by the Brighton-Kogarah Uniting Church as a not-for-profit charitable centre and has been providing help to people struggling with life issues in the St George area since 1992.
It assists more than 6000 clients per year with a range of services, including: free food parcels and free Wednesday community lunches; case management; electricity, gas, water and Telstra accounts payment assistance (EAPA) vouchers; and the No-Interest Loan Scheme.
While the Kogarah Storehouse has suspended the regular community lunch it is still collecting for St George Hospital to provide to patients.