Newsroom | FareShare Food Charity



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DJ and FareShare volunteer Lauren first heard about us while doing a professional gig at the Night Noodle Markets where our volunteers were selling fortune cookies.

Lauren was excited to learn about FareShare’s mission and registered to volunteer straightaway. Living in St Kilda she is constantly aware of people asking for money on the streets and saw helping out at FareShare as a great opportunity to “give back in the right way”.

Chef Polly and DJ Lauren Mac get ready to cook – and entertain – students.

When Lauren left school she had no idea what to do with her life. She worked as a product developer in the fashion industry and sang and played guitar in a band at night. She was clearly no slouch picking up Triple J’s Unearthed award.

When her fashion role was made redundant, Lauren  used her payout to buy DJ decks and took lessons in DJ-ing. A new career soon took off.

Lauren Mac (her professional DJ name) has gone from strength to strength and her reputation has gone viral and global. She travels the world with her DJ decks. Last month she DJ-ed at a wedding in Mykonos. She was even the DJ at Jennifer Hawkins wedding in Bali. She puts her success down to being able to “read the crowd”.

Lauren also runs an entertainment agency with her partner to find new talent.

Amazingly, Lauren finds time to volunteer between gigs with our Schools in the Kitchen program. She loves the direct contact with students and feels she can develop a high level of rapport with them. Chef Polly loves having Lauren in the school kitchen to help guide and inspire the young volunteers.

With talented Lauren on our books, our annual volunteers’ party could be a very lively event this year!



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Kitchen and garden volunteer Catherine is passionate about walking and has just signed up to her biggest walk yet – the 50km A2 Upstream Challenge.

A regular walker who has completed two 30km Coastreks, Catherine was excited by the challenge to walk 50km in aid of FareShare. But she knows the real test will be the last 10km.

Giving it a crack: Catherine (centre) with fellow volunteers Christine and Judy

“I’m looking for a sense of achievement having pushed myself a bit further,”says Catherine. “It will be a bonus if people sponsor me. Even small amounts will add up.

“I’d like to see some other FareShare volunteers join me – particularly the Wednesday afternoon team! It would be wonderful to have a champion from each FareShare shift.”

Catherine expects the walk along the Yarra River from the city to Donvale on November 10 will take 8-10 hours and is keeping her fingers crossed for a cool, sunny day.

You can join Catherine by taking the 20 or 50km A2 Upstream Challenge for FareShare by registering here. Or if you’d like to get behind Catherine, you can you can find her fundraising page here.


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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.



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Meat is often the first sacrifice for families struggling to put food on the table making it a critical ingredient for the FareShare kitchen.

Pig farmer Tim Kingma with diced pork perfect for FareShare casseroles

FareShare cooks 5,000 meals every day from rescued food for people doing it tough. Sourcing sufficient quantities of quality meat is one of the kitchen’s greatest challenges.

Now, thanks to generous Victorian pig farmers, FareShare is guaranteed five pigs a week to add protein to our meals until Christmas. The weekly 250 kg pork donations will be enough to cook 2000 free, nutritious meals for vulnerable people.

“Meat casseroles are the first choice of meal for struggling families,” said FareShare head chef Chris Mitchison. “The donated pork will improve the quality of our meals and boost the protein content for people who really need it.

“Our daily menu will now include dishes like pork, fennel and apple casserole, and Chinese barbecued pork stir fry.”

Victorian pig farmer Tim Kingma, who is also the Victorian Farmers Federation Pig Group President, said farmers were pleased to support people in need with surplus pork.

“It’s a privilege that farmers like me can make a real difference to the lives of people who can’t afford nutritious food this winter,” said Mr Kingma. “Knowing that our quality product will be cooked into delicious meals to be given away free to those most in need is a great outcome.”


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Will you follow in the footsteps of these happy FareShare walkers?

FareShare is an official charity partner of the A2 Upstream Challenge on Saturday 10 November.  Walk or run along the Yarra River from Gosch’s Paddock in Melbourne (50km) or Yarra Flats (20km) to Donvale. Registration is now open and we would love you to walk to raise vital funds for FareShare.

We have set the bar high. We want to cook an extra 300,000 meals every year. To achieve this, we’ll need extra resources to hire chefs, conduct more food rescue and delivery runs, and to power our fridges, freezers and ovens. Increasing our meal output will help us reach more people when they need it most.

More information about the walk can be found here. You can register as an individual (walk at your own pace) or as a team, but please note teams must stick together for the duration of the walk. The challenge is a walk, not a race – and is a great opportunity to build fitness, train with friends and of course, support FareShare. Past participants have made the most of the experience by stopping for picnics along the way to enjoy the many scenic views.

You can walk with FareShare volunteer Catherine who has stepped up to the 50km a2 Upstream Challenge. Or if you are after inspiration fodder, check out Daniel’s story.  He recently walked 210 km for FareShare and raised enough to cook 10,900 meals for people struggling this winter.



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We have a wonderful new ingredient which is cropping up in almost every FareShare meal – mushrooms!

The welcome boon is due to an exciting collaboration with Costa, which boasts the largest mushroom farm in the Southern Hemisphere producing a staggering 250 tonnes of mushrooms every week in Melbourne.

Jose Cambon with chef Crickette adding mushroom stems – & nutrition  – to a casserole.

Easy to prepare, versatile and very nutritious, mushrooms are loved by chefs and volunteers alike.

“Mushrooms are an amazing product we can use to boost kitchen production and nutrition in all our meals – even our sausage rolls!” says FareShare production manager Chris Mitchison. “They contain more than a dozen minerals and vitamins, are low in fat and calories, and cholesterol free.”

In keeping with retailer specifications and customer preference, mushrooms are harvested by slicing the stem from the mushroom.  Until now these stems were largely discarded as part of the production process, even though they are just as nutritious and tasty as the actual mushroom.  This presented an ideal opportunity for Fareshare and Costa to come together to reduce food waste and help disadvantaged people access nutritious food.

“We were very happy to team up with Fareshare,” says Jose Cambon, Costa Mushrooms Victorian State manager. “Not only is it an opportunity to work with a great charity, it also allows us to actually make our product available free of charge, enabling those less fortunate in the community to have access to healthy food that would otherwise go to waste.”


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There have been some BIG developments in sunny Queensland. Our new production kitchen is under construction and  electricians, plumbers and concreters are on site.

FareShare’s Kellie Watson is joined on site by food partner Foodbank QLD’s CEO Michael Rose.

All of our specialist, high-volume cooking equipment has landed in Australia including two 300-litre mixing kettles capable of cooking 750 meals at a time.

Regular volunteer shifts will begin in September with the registration process now open on our volunteering page.  Please share with anyone who may be interested.

The official launch is set for October 9 and our ambition is bold – to cook 1.25 million in our first year of operation, scaling up to 5 million meals a year.

Meat, vegetables and other nutritious ingredients will be supplied by our partner Foodbank Queensland who will also distribute our meals to vulnerable Queenslanders.


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Covering 210 km on foot is no walk in the park. But Daniel Sollorz rose to the challenge for FareShare after completing a shift as a corporate volunteer in our kitchen.

Moved by the experience of cooking meals for people in need, he decided to take things a big step further by walking Victoria’s Goldfields Track from Ballarat to Bendigo in mid-winter.

Daniel, a director with NAB’s Corporate & Institutional Banking division, says he hoped a few days of endurance would raise $3000. In the end, his clients, colleagues, friends and family contributed more than $8,000 – beyond his wildest dreams. One of his clients even matched the donations with a separate gift to FareShare.

A quick selfie on the track to Bendigo

“I was conscious of not badgering people to give,” said Daniel. “But if it was in their hearts to give they could.”

Daniel trained for two months before the walk but still found the long distances tough on his feet. “The ground was really hard and rocky. My feet took a real pounding,” he said.

The second 54km solo leg was a tough, 9-hour stretch. “I only stopped for a two minute break every two or three hours. I didn’t want to sit down in case I couldn’t get up.”

The next day Daniel was grateful to be joined by a friend on a mountain bike. They set out from Daylesford and within an hour it was bucketing. The two ploughed on with no relief all day. “When we arrived in Castlemaine for the night we looked like a pair of “soaked cats,” said Daniel.

On his last day, Daniel knew everything had been worthwhile. “I had already covered 170km. It was a beautiful morning and I was on the track by 7am. There wasn’t a breath of wind and the views were beautiful. I jogged into Bendigo and felt really good. It had all come together.”

Daniel was surprised by the generosity of his sponsors, including a few friends who contributed despite struggling financially.

“All I had to do was put one foot in front of the other – it’s others who are doing it tough,” he said.

Daniel used GiveNow’s ‘crowdraise’ platform to drum up support and promoted the walk through his professional and personal networks. The result was incredible. All up “Daniel’s Little Walk” raised $8,175 – enough for us to cook 10,900 meals. A tremendous contribution from an individual and even more meaningful with the matching gift from a generous client.

If you’re inspired by Daniel’s walk, you may like to take part in the 20km or 50km A2 Upstream Challenge on Saturday, November 10. FareShare is one of the charity partners and we would love you to walk for us.


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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.



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Phil Dobson began volunteering at our kitchen garden on the Baguley Farm in December 2016. Over the past 12 months Phil has notched up over 290 hours as a volunteer supervisor making him our outstanding volunteer at the Baguley Farm.

Phil is a keen gardener but with his own Bayside garden badly affected by drought, he decided to volunteer his green thumbs and gardening skills to FareShare.

Phil (right) with fellow volunteers Isabel and Lorraine about to add “fly poo” fertiliser to our next sweet potato crop.

Like many people retired from the paid work force, Phil, a plant manager for an industrial laundry for 40 years, was not ready to hang up his boots.

Gardening for FareShare gives Phil a positive reason to get up in the mornings. Harvest time provides positive reinforcement to him and his crew of their collective efforts. The recent sweet potato harvest was a case in point – with another bumper haul grown and transported to the FareShare kitchen to be incorporated in our meals.

Phil loves his veggies, loves gardening and working as a team in the company of his fellow volunteers. His labour at FareShare is the highlight of his week!

Thanks Phil. Growing veggies on the Baguley Farm is hard physical work and we’re really grateful for your generous contribution.