Meals for the Mob expands to Naarm with Aborigines Advancement League (AAL) as flagship partners

Exciting plans are underway to expand FareShare’s Meals for the Mob program to Naarm (Melbourne) later this year.

This builds on the success of our Meals for the Mob program in Meanjin (Brisbane), which has been running since our pilot program began in late 2021. More than 200,000 Meals for the Mob have since been cooked for First Nations communities in FareShare’s Meanjin kitchen.

But Meals for the Mob is about much more than just cooking meals. It was developed in close consultation with First Nations communities to provide tailored, culturally appropriate, nutritious meals in ways that are at once empowering, community driven and adaptive.

One exciting aspect about bringing our pioneering Meals for the Mob program to Naarm is being able to plan and prioritise our support for wonderful First Nations organisations like the Aborigines Advancement League (AAL). 

If you’ve ever taken the train past Thornbury Station, chances are you’ve seen the colourful murals, footy oval, and beautiful facilities that make up the AAL.

Gazing out the carriage window, what you may not realise is that this facility also provides essential services and support to around 250 First Nations families. 

FareShare’s nutritious, tailored Meals for the Mob will soon be helping these families cope with the cost of living and other life struggles. 

“We’re excited to partner with the AAL,” says FareShare kitchen manager Crickette Derjeu. “Hopefully, our meals can provide some comfort to these families in these tough times.”

The AAL currently has to purchase most of the food they provide to the hundreds of families they support. With the demand constantly increasing, our free, healthy meals will help AAL assist more families, more effectively.

“FareShare meals will be gratefully received by members of our community,” said AAL CEO Aunty Esme Bamblett during our visit.

The AAL also runs Gurwidj Neighbourhood House, the only First Nations neighbourhood house in Melbourne. FareShare meals will be available to the rough sleepers, homeless people, and others who present hungry there as well. 

The AAL join a handful of First Nations organisations in Naarm as flagship Meals for the Mob partners.

The first Naarm Meals for the Mob cook up is scheduled for June 2024. It will be a collaborative affair, with key First Nations partners and friends of FareShare with Reconciliation Action Plans participating.

“The need just keeps increasing,” says FareShare’s First Nations Officer Jason Mollenhauer. “It’s great that we will soon be able to provide Meals for the Mob to important organisations like the AAL and to support First Nations peoples in Naarm.”

We will be catering a special luncheon at the Aborigines Advancement League during NAIDOC Week (early July), where we will showcase our Meals for the Mob partnership with the AAL community.

FareShare will also host a special Meals for the Mob Naarm launch event at our revamped Abbotsford kitchen in the coming months.

Stay tuned to our blog, social media channels (links in footer), and email newsletter for more details about our Meals for the Mob expansion, AAL partnership, and related events.

FareShare chefs visit AAL. From left: Emma James, Crickette Derjeu, Aunty Esme Bamblett (AAL CEO), and Tania Visentini.
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