A good read and a vital feed at Yarra Libraries

FareShare meals are proudly displayed in an upright display freezer in the foyer of Bargoonga Nganjin, North Fitzroy Library.

“It’s meant to offer a dignified experience,” says Dylan Oosterweghel, Community Engagement and Outreach Officer. “People don’t have any concerns or shame. You can generally tell who may be looking for food and the staff at the desk offer to open it up for them.”

Dylan says a range of people access the FareShare meals. “Some people are not confident cooking or able to make healthy, nutritious meals for themselves,” he says. “It adds a lot of value to their day and really benefits people having a hard time.”

Terry, an elderly local, visits regularly with his shopping trolley. For him, the meals go way beyond enjoyment. “I have been surviving on them,” he says. “Old age and the ability to cook have been catching up with me. I can’t thank you all enough. Tell the volunteers a double thank-you!”

Dylan Oosterweghel from Yarra Libraries displays FareShare meals in front of their modern freezer.

Libraries are community centres which bring people together particularly at times of transition. Dylan uses the word “crossroads” – families with young children, people studying or looking for work, or perhaps rough sleepers in need of a refuge.

“Having a resource to share has made a big difference to the community, especially with the rise in cost of living prices,” he says.

The new FareShare meal formats and packaging are also having an impact. “It’s so convenient for people. We really see it. It changes the way people are receiving food. They react differently. People definitely look at the packaging and think this looks delicious.”

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