Why FareShare meals are a ‘gamechanger’ for Reservoir Neighbourhood House

Reservoir Neighbourhood House began providing FareShare meals and other food assistance to their community members during Covid. They intended to stop once the lockdowns ended but the need never let up.

Four years on and Reservoir Neighbourhood House is now an essential lifeline for people struggling with the cost-of-living, supporting between 1,500-2,000 households every month with food.

“Demand has increased,” says Reservoir Neighbourhood House team member Kate Hatton. “Rent is going up. Mortgages are going up. And people are saying that where they were once spending $150 a week on groceries, they are now spending $200 and they just don’t have the resources. 

FareShare's Tilly (left) and Pauline (right) hold up FareShare meals with Reservoir NH's CEO Craig and coordinator Kate in front of their beautiful mural.

“It’s families trying to maintain their homes, people who have never had to ask for help before. This meal relief can be the difference between paying a bill or not.”

Located 12kms north of Melbourne’s CBD, Reservoir is a sprawling suburb with a high proportion of elderly people, rough sleepers, refugees, Muslim families, and Sudanese and Chinese migrants. Densely populated public housing blocks surround Reservoir Neighbourhood House. 

FareShare meals are enjoyed by people across this diverse spectrum.

For some, a FareShare meal provides a rare nuritious meat-y meal. 

“Meat can be unaffordable to many community members,” Kate explains. “So having access to the protein and fresh veggies packed into FareShare meals is highly valued by the community.”

“Your meals are much healthier than the stuff in the cupboard,” Kate adds. “It’s really good to have healthy options. And they look appetising as well. You can see the portion, you can see the vegetables, the rice… they look like something you would buy. And that makes a difference.”

For others, it’s the convenience that make FareShare meals desirable. The team at Reservoir Neighbourhood House has noticed that most community members, from rough sleepers to busy families, are not aspiring chefs. Many just want a hot, tasty, quick meal.

And finally, there’s the connection that comes with a hot feed.

“We get lots of people who come in because they are lonely, socially isolated, and with your meals we can offer them a hot meal on the spot,” says Kate. 

FareShare meals are prominently placed in Reservoir Neighbourhood House and are available to anyone who visits.

“And that has made such a difference to us as community workers because it gives a point of access to that person. If you can encourage someone to have a hot meal and sit down and chat to you, you can find out what other things they need help with, referrals or access to counsellors…

“FareShare meals have been a gamechanger for us.”

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