Christmas meals connect people at risk of missing out

A homestyle meal cooked with care by FareShare’s chefs and volunteers can make a world of difference to someone who has no home, family or friends to enjoy Christmas with. 

That’s why FareShare has been delivering traditional Christmas meals to people who may otherwise miss out such as those experiencing homelessness, extreme isolation or fleeing family violence.

There was no sit-down Christmas lunch for the Father Bob Maguire Foundation this year, but FareShare’s chefs made sure no one was left behind by cooking 600 special Christmas meals for the disadvantaged community it serves.

FareShare volunteer Graham Collier, who also runs Father Bob’s Pantry, said the meals are all about connection.

“It’s the feeling of being thought about, the feeling of being cared for and the feeling of being part of a bigger community,” said Graham. “The Christmas meals tell people they are not on their own – they are cared for.”

FareShare and Fr. Bob Maguire Foundation volunteer Veronica (left) hands a hamper containing FareShare meals to a meal recipient at Fr. Bob Foundation HQ.
St. Marks Community Centre team members gratefully accept a delivery of FareShare Christmas meals from kitchen manager Crickette Derjeu (right).

Other charities receiving FareShare’s Christmas meals have a similar story.

“The community we work with is experiencing high levels of social isolation and disadvantage,” said Jack Brookes, team leader of homeless support at St Marks Community Centre in Fitzroy where FareShare dropped off 100 special Christmas meals.

“They have lost connection with their families. They have found their community here. To have a bit of that Christmas feel is so important.”

Like Father Bob’s, the long shadow of COVID and a reduction in volunteers means there will be no Christmas event this year at St. Marks. Having a pre-cooked traditional Christmas meal shows people in hardship they are valued.

Many people seek comfort and connection at their local library and this year Melbournians doing it tough will also be able to pick up a Christmas meal in North Fitzroy.

“I think it will make people feel loved and cared for at a time when life is very difficult for them,” said Dylan Oosterweghel, Team Leader Community Engagement and Outreach at Yarra Libraries. “It will allow them to celebrate the festive season in some way.”

Bargoonga Nganjin, North Fitzroy Library staff member Tegan Webb and other employees help people seeking comfort and connection with FareShare meals.
Djirra CEO Antoinette Braybrook AM and Lasi Kailea will drop off our meals to families in emergency accommodation.

It is well-known that family violence can escalate at Christmas. At Djirra, which provides culturally-appropriate services to Aboriginal women, FareShare’s Christmas meals will be dropped off with families in emergency accommodation which lack cooking facilities.

“Having pre-cooked meals is really handy,” says Lasi Kailea, senior support worker who will also be sharing FareShare’s Christmas roasts paired with sticky date puddings with women who drop in between now and Christmas. “It’s so easy to have a Christmas meal that can be microwaved.” 

Veterans living in extreme isolation in East Gippsland will also get a taste of Christmas thanks to a special run of FareShare Christmas meals to Fish Creek RSL where the indefatigable Ros Bryan OAM JP personally delivers meals to veterans experiencing PTSD. 

In Queensland, FareShare has provided meals for St. George to add to Christmas hampers for First Nations communities in the Western Downs. 

There’s still time to support FareShare this year by donating to our Christmas Appeal. 

Ros Bryan OAM JP will deliver meals to local veterans and families in hardship.
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