Articles | FareShare Food Charity

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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.

A DEMANDING JOB AND VOLUNTEERING GO HAND IN HAND FOR HUONG

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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.

HELP US FEED CHILDREN THIS WINTER

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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 DELIVERS WEEKLY BOX OF FRESH FOOD FOR STRUGGLING FAMILIES

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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