Simon Jenkinson – Volunteer of the Week, April 2017
When Simon joined our Friday morning kitchen crew in 2015 he was recently retired and was looking to do something worthwhile for the community.
For more than 30 years, Simon worked as a clinical psychologist running his own private practice specialising in drug and alcohol counselling. He finished his career working with students at the RMIT Counselling Service. Throughout his working life he had undertaken skilled volunteering but rolling up his sleeves in the FareShare kitchen was the first time he had turned his hand to unpaid manual work.
Simon with fellow volunteer and movie buff Jill
Volunteering is an important component of Simon’s “transition to retirement” plan. As well as volunteering at FareShare, he also teaches English to asylum seekers one day a week through the Brotherhood of St Laurence. He knows that transition to retirement can be challenging – especially for men whose identity is often tied up very closely with their work. Two years down the track, Simon believes he has adjusted to being “retired”.
Simon especially enjoys the social dimension of his Friday morning shift in the FareShare kitchen which he shares with other book and film buffs. Simon is a mad Lord of the Rings fan – he loved the book and the movies. In fact he loves all SciFi movies and regards 2001 A space Odyssey as a timeless classic.
Reflecting on volunteering at FareShare, Simon feels a real sense of loyalty to his fellow crew. He is cognisant that every task he completes benefits those in need. He has done a lot of volunteering over his lifetime and believes FareShare is outstanding in organising and managing our volunteers. He likes the simple system we have for notifying an absence and appreciates that every contact he has with us is acknowledged.
Thanks Simon – we appreciate your loyalty to the Friday crew and to FareShare.
Huong Le – Volunteer of the Week, April 2017
They say that if you want something done, ask a busy person. It’s a maxim that fits FareShare volunteer Huong Le to a tee.
Huong spends her working life in the skies, serving as a customer services manager on long-haul Qantas flights on 747 and A330 aircraft. On any given week she could be in South Africa, South America, the US or Asia.
Huong (left) with fellow volunteer & ex-Qantas colleague Elizabeth
Naturally she loves travelling and says she cannot sit still. And if her demanding job is not enough, she is also studying part-time for a Juris Doctor in Law and her Masters in Aviation Management.
Huong was born in Saigon and fled by boat to Australia in 1975 with her family. They were rescued by a US ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean after seven days at sea.
Huong and her family spent four months in a refugee camp in Guam before they settled in Melbourne when Huong was just 10 and English a foreign language.
“We didn’t have a lot when we were seeking refuge,” said Huong who remembers feeling hungry and grateful to the US Navy personnel who gave them dried biscuits, congee, two- minute noodles and a little bit of water.
The experience seems to have sparked a real passion in Huong to ‘give back’ especially around food. Her favourite kitchen task is cutting meat.
Huong loves volunteering on Wednesday nights and enjoys her interaction with fellow volunteers who are all “lovely and interesting”. She was also delighted to bump into former colleague and fellow volunteer Elizabeth Sinclair (see photo) while on a make-up shift one Monday. Their encounter marked the 50th anniversary of Elizabeth’s first day at Qantas where according to Huong she is regarded as a bit of a legend.
FareShare is deeply grateful to Huong for making FareShare volunteering part of her life journey.
As winter looms FareShare is determined to feed as many children as possible.
Since the start of this year, we have received multiple requests to supply meals for children. We always do our best to respond and recently started helping two additional schools and two new children’s charities.
Can you help directly fund the production of nutritious meals for kids in crisis?
Children in crisis accommodation walk to school where a FareShare lunch awaits.
It costs us just 75 cents to produce one meal, that’s around $3 to feed a family of four or $63 to feed that family for a week. Your tax-deductible donation will not only help us feed disadvantaged families this winter, it will enable us to go the extra mile to cater to the special needs and tastes of children.
It might be spaghetti meatballs or lasagna for primary school children in public housing. Or lunchbox treats, such as zucchini slice and cake with fresh fruit, for young kids in crisis accommodation. Or veg-packed sausage rolls and pies for teenagers at risk.
Cynthia Johnston, who manages LiveWires, an after-school program for primary school children on the Collingwood public housing estate, says a FareShare meal may be the only hot meal of the day for a child.
“We feed kids who haven’t had anything at lunch or recess,” says Cynthia. “The FareShare food is a huge help for us. We target kids who really need it. We put what’s left over in takeaway containers at the end of the night to help siblings and families as well.
“With FareShare slipping in hidden veggies, we ensure the kids are getting the nutrition they need.”
Please consider a donation to help FareShare provide good food to children to support their growth, social development and wellbeing.
FareShare has teamed up with fruit and milk delivery company The Fruit Box Group to distribute 25,000 boxes of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk and bread to families in need.
The One Box initiative targets 1,000 families who are struggling to afford healthy food with each one receiving a box of fresh produce every week.
“This is a great initiative to support families facing serious disadvantage with the fresh, healthy food most of us take for granted,” said FareShare CEO Marcus Godinho. “The aim is to ensure families receive sustainable support every week and we have put on an extra vehicle and driver to make this happen.”
Pastor Joy and Kris Jack at Kingston City Church are thrilled with The One Box leg-up for families
Since launching in May, The One Box program has provided 10,000 boxes of fresh food to the value of $25 to families in need. Donated by The Fruit Box Group and delivered by FareShare, the boxes are making a real difference according to the charities which hand them out.
Sharee Grinter of West Footscray Neighourhood House said: “With fresh food so expensive it’s often the first to fall off the list when resources are stretched, so a weekly box of good quality nutritious food will have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of families in need.”
FareShare has set up a new run to deliver the donated food to charities supporting families in acute need including Kingston City Church, Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering and Fawkner Community House.
The Fruit Box Group is investing up to $400,000 in the Melbourne pilot and aims to expand the program. Continue reading
The first harvest of Melbourne’s largest planting of sweet potato commenced today at our Abbotsford kitchen garden.
The cultivation of a global staple, rarely seen in Melbourne gardens, is part of an innovative partnership between FareShare and the Burnley Campus of the University of Melbourne. The bulk of the sweet potatoes have been planted on the Baguley family farm in Clayton South where Les Baguley has generously provided a substantial area for FareShare to grow veggies.
Yes! Volunteer Kit shows sweet potatoes can thrive in Melbourne
Dr Chris Williams’ Novel Crops Project, based at the Burnley Campus, is investigating around 30 new food plants and varieties for Melbourne. Its aim is to broaden crop choice for home and community gardeners, local councils and nurseries with plants such as sweet potato, taro and ginger.
“This is the first time sweet potato has ever been planted on this scale in Melbourne,” said Dr Williams. “Some of the varieties we are trialling at FareShare don’t even have a name yet.”
The Novel Crops Project promotes the concept of “edible landscapes” – attractive gardens that also provide food.
Our five varieties of home-grown sweet potatoes
“The low GI, versatile and easy-to- prepare sweet potato is a welcome ingredient for FareShare’s nutritious meals,” said Kellie Watson, FareShare’s general manager. “It will enable to us better support migrant groups and develop more culturally-appropriate recipes. The sweet potatoes will be used in a variety of FareShare dishes including curries and soups.”
The sweet potato plants were propagated by urban horticulture students from Burnley and by refugees and migrants doing English language courses at the Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre (CNLC). The CNLC students also received basic horticultural training at Burnley focused on food plants. As a result, 1000 tubes of five different sweet potato varieties were given to FareShare last December. Continue reading