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FIGHTING HUNGER – AND THE BALLARAT WINTER

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Ballarat winters are notoriously harsh. It’s hard to imagine how anyone sleeping rough could even survive.

Centacare’s Peplow House provides temporary relief with crisis accommodation for single men experiencing homelessness. Residents are provided intensive support to address a broad range of issues using a holistic approach and ongoing outreach to help rebuild shattered lives.

“Most men arrive here when they’ve hit rock bottom,” explains Lisa, Senior Key Worker. “They’ve had enough and want to make a change.”

Moving from the streets into a community house can be a huge shock. All residents must sign an agreement to abide by the house rules and engage in the services provided. The availability of quality food is a welcome surprise.

The communal freezer is full of FareShare meals with casseroles the first to go. Some of those doing it tough have existed on little more than toast. Nutritious meals offer an immediate boost to health and wellbeing.

Lisa and Craig provide a warm welcome with FareShare meals

As well as sharing FareShare meals with residents, Lisa and her co-worker Craig also deliver them to vulnerable people through Centacare’s outreach program.

“They absolutely count on it,” says Lisa. “They love the meals. For some it means they can eat. When you’re on the streets it’s all about survival. People heat up FareShare meals on a little burner – same with the sausage rolls. You don’t need cutlery.”

Peplow House has just eight rooms and demand for shelter far exceeds supply in a catchment that that stretches from Stawell to Bacchus Marsh. Numbers experiencing homelessness have swelled with many of those sleeping rough living transient lives.

Peplow House provides a comfortable home for residents. A new suite purchased by a donation from Michelle Payne after her Melbourne Cup win and cartoons drawn by a talented ex-resident provide warmth. So too does the humanity and commitment of  Peplow staff.

“We laugh a lot,” says Craig.

The situation is confronting. Seeing how FareShare meals help Lisa, Craig and their Centacare colleagues make a difference is a humbling affirmation of our mission.

 

EMILY LEAVES LEGACY OF TASTE FOR NUTRITIOUS FOOD

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The day FareShare chef Emily finally met the children who enjoy her specially-prepared lunches was one of her most memorable.

Every Monday, Emily has been up before 6 to create healthy platters for 24 four-year-olds at TRY South Yarra Pre School on the Horace Petty Housing Estate in South Yarra.

Madut can’t resist Emily’s appealing fruit platter.

Five-year-old Dylan likes apple and cheese sandwiches – a combination he had never tried before Emily created the nutritious lunch options.

Five-year-old Violet told Emily “I like the cheese and cucumber sandwiches – I love everything!” Madut likes dragon fruit.

“Visiting the kids at TRY Kinder has been a highlight of my time at Fareshare,” said Emily. “Seeing the gorgeous faces of all the kids enjoying my lovingly prepared food was very humbling and heart-warming. Educating the young kids about new foods excites me and makes everything we do worth it – even the early starts!”

Kindergarten director and teacher Maree Sheehan says it’s fantastic to see how the children are now including different foods in their diets.

“FareShare has been wonderful in helping the children try a wider range of fruit and vegetables along with the other foods.  The children love seeing what Emily has prepared on the platters for them.

Violet is a big fan of Emily’s platters

“We have lots of lovely conversations with the children about what the different fruit and vegetables are on the plate – what sort of dip there might be to try with the veggies and what’s in the sandwiches.  The children will try something new from FareShare and then ask for it at home.

“The lunch  food from Food Share never goes to waste.   If anything is left the families enjoy taking it home.”

Mum Louise says the FareShare lunches are a big help. “It makes such a difference. My daughter looks forward to coming in on Mondays and Tuesdays because of the yummy food.”

Chef Emily finishes up at FareShare this week after nearly three years of cooking meals for vulnerable Victorians. Our chefs will continue to support the pre school with healthy, free lunches.

 

FINDING REFUGE AND A FARESHARE MEAL

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A hot FareShare meal awaits families fleeing family violence at Emerge Women and Children’s Support Network.

“When families arrive at our crisis accommodation, they have often fled their homes with nothing,” explains manager Jessica Woller. “They are traumatised, frightened, confused and unaware of their surroundings.

“It’s great to be able to supply families with nourishing, warm meals straight away. We often heat up FareShare quiches. It’s not just a can of beans or a piece of toast – it’s a real meal.

“The freezer in the communal kitchen is full of FareShare meals. At any time women can open the freezer and heat up a FareShare meal. “

Emerge has been keeping families safe for more than 40 years and is the only specialised domestic violence service in Melbourne’s southern metropolitan area. It provides crisis accommodation, as well as outreach support to women and children still living at home. Emerge also offers art therapy to affected families.

Sharing food plays an important part in helping families feel at home. “It helps them settle in without having to worry about where the next meal will come from,” says Jessica. “It also makes them feel at ease as we spend time together in the kitchen – a familiar scene in an unfamiliar place.”

Emerge supports families into transitional housing while they await a permanent home. Without this support, most vulnerable families would have nowhere to go and would find themselves homeless. The refuge itself is being rebuilt to provide all families with their own space to aid recovery. Once finished, the new 24/7 facility will comprise 10 self-contained units, each with its own kitchen.

For many women there is a long road back to regaining their shattered confidence and sense of self-worth.

FareShare is proud our cooked, nutritious meals help ease the pain and support this recovery.

By contributing to our Winter Appeal, you will help us reach more families in their hour of greatest need.

A PORT IN A STORM FOR PEOPLE IN CRISIS

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One of the most rewarding aspects of working at FareShare is meeting the people who receive our meals and the charities which support them.

“We see a lot of domestic violence, single mums, and retirees who don’t have the funds to feed themselves,” says Helping Hands CEO Melanie Kent. “It doesn’t take much to be living comfortably in a house to having nothing.

Helping Hands CEO Melanie Kent

“We support a lot of isolated people who have no one. We give them a safe place. We’re like a pseudo family.”

Helping Hands Mission runs community pantries in Airport West, Sunshine and Bridgewater near Bendigo and provides emergency support for Victorians in extreme circumstances. It also serves daily sit-down meals for at least 40 vulnerable people, including small children, at Airport West

The community pantry is stocked with fresh food and staples, together with our nutritious frozen meals. It supports 30 families a day by appointment and many more who walk in in desperate need of food. Some are sleeping rough or in cars so unable to take much away with them.

“It’s a space for people to come and take what’s most useful to them. When your choices have been taken away from you, it makes a world of difference to be able to choose the brands your kids like,” explains Melanie. Continue reading

AVOID FOOD WASTE THIS CHRISTMAS WITH TURKEY NOEL

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Chef Chris Mitchison

Christmas may be over but food waste is acumulating for the unwary.

Our kitchen production manager Chris Mitchison has an ideal solution for leftover turkey. Here’s her recipe for Turkey Noel. For general tips on avoiding food waste this Christmas, please click here.

Turkey Noel

Back in the 70s,  my mother found a recipe in the English Women’s Weekly magazine for Christmas leftovers. It was called Turkey Noel and it was served on Boxing Day, very effectively using up the leftover turkey. It was absolutely delicious. I have modified it to reduce the amount of preparation required – after all who wants to cook again from scratch? Not me! Continue reading

COMFORT FOOD FOR WOMEN FINDING REFUGE

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Once a week FareShare chefs provide a special lunch for women at McAuley House, Victoria’s first purpose built accommodation for women who are homeless.

The community meal for the women, many of whom have also experienced family violence and mental illness, is a weekly event at McAuley House, which opened last year in Footscray.

At a recent lunch, residents described the FareShare food as “absolutely delicious” and “beautiful”.

FareShare chefs Emily and Crickette with a chocolate cake and berry crumble for McAuley women

“Community lunch is always a big one.” says Amy Sattler, Facilitator of McAuley’s Food for My Life nutrition and cooking program. “It’s one opportunity a week to be socially engaged and to eat a nutritious meal. It’s particularly important for our outreach women who are in transitional or public housing.

“Some women come in who were residents in the old McAuley House 20 years ago. It’s about connection – not feeling so isolated. We create that sense of belonging. That once a woman has left she is always welcome back.”

The community lunches are served in a welcoming dining space with sweeping views of Melbourne. Roast meat and vegetables, salads and dessert make up a typical lunch with ingredients supplied by FareShare and desserts prepared in our kitchen. “The women love the FareShare desserts. They’re a real highlight,” says Amy.

“For some residents, cooking is completely overwhelming,” says Amy. “Those who have lived on the street for a long time may have little or no concept of how to prepare a meal.”

Food for My Life aims to nurture independence and equip the women for life after McAuley House. And with two kitchens in the new building, many are cooking for themselves or with some support. Only a handful still need meals cooked for them.

In addition to providing 25 rooms for medium-term accommodation, McAuley House acts as a hub for community services that support over 100 women each year.

 

UNVEILING THE SECRETS OF URBAN FARMING

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FareShare will conduct tours of the Baguley farm on 28 October where we have grown 21 tonnes of vegetables to feed Victorians in crisis.

Urban veggie farming on the Baguley farm.

The large plot in Clayton South, generously provided by local flower and herb grower Les Baguley, has proved a productive oasis.

All veggies grown by FareShare are used to add nutrition to our meals. Over the past 12 months, the kitchen garden has yielded more than eight  tonnes of zucchini, five tonnes of pumpkin and four tonnes of carrots.

FareShare will conduct tours of the farm which boasts Les’ famous tropical house, a lavender project and orchard, as well as our own kitchen garden and other plots run by community groups.

The free tours will commence at 10 am, 11am,  12pm, 1pm and 2pm on Saturday, October 28. Booking essential. See here for details. Continue reading

FARESHARE FIGHTS HUNGER IN THE CLASSROOM

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FareShare cooks meals to boost the learning potential of children whose lack of nutrition may compromise their education.

Vulnerable teenagers attending the Prahran Community Learning Centre (PCLC) are the latest recipients of regular FareShare meals.

Khalik and Emily cook chili con carne for PCLC students

“As a large proportion of our students come from severely-disadvantaged households or currently have no regular home, the service provided by FareShare is for some the first time that they have had access to regular nutritious meals,”  explains PCLC’s Kirsty Hohenhaus.

“A significant cohort of our student population is secondary-aged students who have disengaged from mainstream education.” 

FareShare chefs prepare three wholesome, two-course meals a week especially for the PCLC students, and pass on rescued snacks, cereals and fruit, together with the odd treat such as home-baked cake.

FareShare’s Kellie Watson said a number of charities providing education for children needed support to ensure their students’ capability was not compromised by hunger or malnutrition.

“That’s where FareShare comes in,” said Kellie. “The agency can focus on education and we can ensure the students receive the nourishment they need to thrive. As well as making sure the food tastes great, our chefs work hard to make it LOOK appetising.”

PCLC provides a safe place for youth to re-engage with education and complete their VCAL, gaining practical work-related experience, as well as literacy and numeracy skills and the opportunity to build personal skills  important for life and work. Once a drop-in centre for residents on the Prahran Housing Estate, PCLC has evolved into a registered training organisation and a Senior Secondary Provider as part of the Learn Local sector.

FareShare has also begun supplying a kindergarten group of disadvantaged four-year-olds with a healthy lunch and snacks two days a week.

 

YES, WE HAVE A NEW WAREHOUSE!

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FareShare has just made an exciting investment to get more meals out to people in need.

After a long search, we have found an ideal warehouse in Derrimut, close to the food wholesalers in the western suburbs where our vans collect the bulk of our food. And the first food is in!

A man and his van: Pat ponders the possibilities of a warehouse full of food

The 1164 mpremises will increase our storage capacity tenfold and enable us to sort food and undertake basic food prepping on site in a temperature-controlled sorting room.

“This is an absolute game-changer which relieves a bottleneck that has been holding us back,” said FareShare CEO Marcus Godinho. “Anyone familiar with our current warehouse will know what a difference this will make.

“We will now be able to rescue and process more food – particularly valuable bulk product such as fresh meat. We will also be able to manage the vagaries of food rescue by accepting and storing food for the future. ”

The new FareShare distribution centre will house up to 250 pallets. It also offers an additional 90 pallets of freezer storage and 30 pallets of cool room space.

FareShare is extending our program with the Department of Justice and Regulation to enable small groups of offenders serving community-based orders to work at the site. They will assist with a range of task such as washing our homegrown veg, sorting meat and veg, and cleaning vans.

The new facility was made possible by generous financial support from the Ian Potter Foundation, Sargents Pies Charitable Foundation, Perpetual Trustees, Lions Club of the Melbourne Markets, Campbell Edwards Trust and GW Vowell Trust.

The project also received wonderful support from the FareShare community, including donations from many of our volunteers, who together raised more than $108,000.

We thank everyone who has contributed to this dramatic expansion which will enable us to rescue another 750 tonnes of perfectly-good food each year for our kitchen.

FEEDING SOME VERY SPECIAL CHILDREN THIS WINTER

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Our Winter Appeal is focused on creating meals for children who now make up one third of the people seeking food relief in Australia. For many kids, poverty and family breakdown are the main causes of food crisis.

Innocent, Theresa and Koko visit the FareShare kitchen

Others, like the kids helped by the Children First Foundation, face a multitude of challenges. Children like Theresa, Innocent and Koko who have come to Australia for life-changing surgery which isn’t available in their own countries.

Good nutrition is vital to building these children’s strength for surgery and rehabilitation. FareShare is proud to be providing them with nutritious meals and food.

“We serve food that the children like,” explains Pat Weldon, who manages Children First’s Miracle sMiles retreat in Kilmore. “They have to eat. We also need them to be as content and happy as can be.

“One of the biggest parts of our culture here is food. We spend a lot of time around the table – and we need an awful lot of food.

“Sometimes children arrive here very underweight and need to gain weight before they can be anaesthetised for surgery. They also have a lot of exercise and physio post-surgery which burns calories. They can’t afford to lose weight.

“FareShare’s support means we can spend money on the children’s clinical care such as medical equipment, dressings and bandages.  The food element is huge.”

Most kids supported by Children First spend around a year in Australia, often undergoing multiple procedures away from their families. Children like Theresa, who suffered horrific burns as an 8-year-old and couldn’t lift her head until burns contractures were released in Australia.

Please help FareShare provide good food to children to support their growth, social development and wellbeing. Your tax deductible donation will make a tangible difference to the lives of young people doing it tough this winter.