Today we are chatting with local mum Rachael Smith who was recently named Westfield Local Hero and awarded a $10,000 grant for her charity ” Pantry 4 The people.

Rachael  has also been named as Bayside Citizen of The Year 2022 on Australia Day for setting up Pantry4ThePeople in 2020.

Where and how long have you lived in Sydney’s east? 

My husband and I are originally from Victoria. We moved to Sydney and lived in Woollahra for 11 years and then moved to Botany where we have been for the past 16 years.

Three words that describe what it’s like to live in the eastern suburbs? 




How many children?

I have 2 sons, Jake 18 and Nate 15

Favourite Park:

Centennial Park or Sir Joseph Banks. Both offer so much. They are ever changing with the seasons and every visit feels like you can discover something new in a hidden corner.

Favourite Beach:

Little Bay is my current favourite. It is small and tucked away like a cosy hidden alcove. I love the walk down through the golf course and the steep stairs. It always feels like a total getaway and an added bonus is there is no phone reception. It forces you to be present in the beautiful surroundings without the distractions of technology.

Favourite kid friendly cafe:

My children are older now so kid friendly is not something I worry about too much. I recently met a friend with her little girl at Bellagio Cafe in Charing Cross and there was space for her to run around and be safe. They were really accommodating with kid size serves.

Favourite Coffee Spot:

I would have to say Two Fives Cafe in Rosebery. They are a massive support of Pantry4ThePeople. Their menu is extensive, delicious and the coffee is awesome. In a very short time after I started going there, I really felt like part of their family. The staff are consistent and fun and there is never a morning that I leave there without having laughed out loud.

Favourite date night place: 

Without a doubt Bistro Moncur. We used to live in Moncur St and it was our special occasion restaurant from when we were 23 years old! I turn 50 this year so it has been our go to for 27 years. Introducing our children to the delights of Moncur may not have been the wisest choice as dinner is now a much more expensive venture. Always well worth it and we never leave disappointed.

I always say my last meal request on earth would be Bistro Moncur French Onion Souffle.

Where in the east have you yet to explore and would like to?

I think I know most of the Eastern Suburbs well. Different parts work for me according to mood and season. All of the East and surrounding suburbs have so much to offer in terms of great lifestyle. We are very spoilt to live where we do!

What would you like to see improve in the eastern suburbs?

Traffic! I don’t have the answers of how to improve it but I do spend an awful lot of time stuck in school traffic on Carrington Road. At least this over the years has been valuable time spent stuck in a car with 2 teenage boys. Time together where we can discuss and debrief our day together on the way home. The ride to school is usually spent with them half asleep!

Favourite Local Shop:

Probably Papaya, if I could have my entire house styled with everything from Papaya, I would be a happy girl. I think our Westfield Centres at Bondi and Eastgardens are excellent. They offer so much variety in the way of mainstream and higher end retail. Ease of parking and choice of food, fashion, and homewares under the one roof makes them a perfect destination for me.

Favourite wet weather location:

I absolutely love to sit at La Perouse in the rain and watch the changing ocean. I meditate there a lot and I love that there is a sense of calm and peace and i can choose between beautiful, grassed areas or head to the sand.

Favourite Local family Weekend Activity?

Sport with my boys. I absolutely love watching my sons play basketball and AFL. I love seeing the games and their connection to team and mateship. They also participate in compulsory Saturday school sport which is always fun to be a part of.

Work or SAHM?

For many years I was a stay-at-home Mum. A decision we made from when our boys were born, and I was so fortunate to be able to have that time at home with them. I have recently just returned to casual work for Cue who I have been with since 2000 when I worked full time before having my boys. Returning to the work force has been fun and wearing great clothes again is such a nice change!

I have a couple of side businesses that I also do. I run my own weight loss consultancy and for many years have had a Styling and Event planning business with a close friend. Over the years we have styled properties for sale, new home renovations and also planned and executed weddings and various other parties and events. We can turn our hand to almost anything and I love the creative aspect.

Then there is Pantry4ThePeople which has really turned into so much more than I ever expected.

I fill the Pantry on average 4 times a day, make up and deliver grocery boxes to families needing extra support.  I also attend preschools and schools to speak with children and educators about how we can spread kindness and give support to those in our community who may be facing food insecurity and needing our help. If we can teach our children, the importance of giving with no expectation of anything in return I believe our world will be a better place to be.

Motherly advice?

I was so lucky to have my grandmother live with us for many years before she passed away at 95 years of age. We cared for her in our home when she could no longer live alone. She absolutely shaped the mother that I am. I would say the best advice she gave me was never raise your voice. By the time you are doing that you are only upsetting yourself and no child is actually listening. What I have learnt along the way of my own parenting is to be open and let your children know there is nothing that they can’t talk to you about. Be completely present when you are with them and know their friends. Make a point of getting to know their people, the kids they are associating with forming relationships with. My sons and their friends know they can call on me at any time for anything and I will come. It doesn’t matter the time of day or night. It gives them a sense of security knowing someone will always turn up for them in any situation.

Follow Rachael on instagram: pantry4thepeople_sydney