Sydney school children are volunteering to make meals for the needy as homelessness across the country rises in the face of a cost-of-living crisis.

An estimated 47,300 people are homeless across New South Wales according to Homelessness NSW, who say hidden homelessness may make the figure even higher.

And across Sydney many people are now roughing it on the streets or sleeping in tents in the city’s parks, or in their cars.

Charities Brothers In Need and The Culinary School, two of Sydney’s volunteer-led organisations on the front line of the problem, team up to cook and distribute meals for the homeless.

Volunteers, including many children, help prepare meals on a Saturday, which are distributed to the homeless community in Martin Place. The freshly cooked meals come with fresh fruit and water or a can of drink.

“The purpose is for them to have empathy,” said Sydney mum Mirna Hadid, a volunteer from one of the many community organisations taking turns each week at The Culinary School. “It’s to do things for others so they feel like they are doing an act of kindness.”

Homelessness NSW said there has been a 34.5 per cent increase in the current street count of homeless people sleeping rough on our streets since last year – 1,623, up from 1,207 in 2022.

Main image by Mohamad Youssef.