FareShare meals prove popular at The Salvation Army in Camberwell

Twice a week, the Salvation Army (Salvos) in Camberwell hands out FareShare meals, food pantry essentials and hot take away meals to locals doing it tough. The numbers vary but on most days a few dozen people pass through.

Norman Gale is the Community Services Coordinator for this Salvos branch. Friendly and softly spoken, he knows a lot of the people turning up for food and greets them warmly. In between, he explains that people are really struggling with the cost-of-living pressures. 

Until recently, Norman’s role involved visiting a lot of Salvation Army branches, which meant he saw the rise in people seeking food relief across Melbourne firsthand. 

“I could see some sites were getting a lot more people coming through,” says Norman. “For example, down in Dandenong, Kingston, Bentleigh, the demand there is up quite considerably.

“What we’ve seen here is a rise in the complexity and intensity of the need. The individuals coming have more trouble meeting their daily needs. The amounts we give out have been rising.”

Not only do FareShare meals help meet this increased demand for food relief being felt by the Salvation Army and many other frontline charities we supply, but they also help provide vital nutrition. This aligns with the Salvos’ aim to get people eating healthy food.

It’s good quality food, not just rubbish. You’ve got a nutritional value there and that’s really, really helpful.

Norman and Salvation Army Camberwell volunteers Marilyn and June hold up FareShare meals.

“You guys do a great job of getting a good balanced diet… It’s good quality food, not just rubbish. You’ve got a nutritional value there and that’s really, really helpful. And of course, your meals are all free!”

“Because they’re frozen already, people can heat up your meals so easily. It just gives people flexibility.”

Salvation Army volunteer June sees agrees wholeheartedly with Norman.

“People absolutely love your meals, especially the single serves. They’re convenient but I think what they like most is the meat and veg,” says June. “A lot of people don’t buy meat or have access to cooking utensils – they’re in rooming houses for example. So they’re so good for them. Your sausage rolls are always popular and I’ve heard that you pack them full of veg, which is great.”

Another volunteer Marilyn has been helping out nearby. Her eyes also light up when she sees the FareShare logo.

“Thank you for all the food you provide,” she gushes. “It’s necessary, it’s very necessary…” 

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