Thank you Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools and Melbourne Farmers Markets for the temporary kitchen space

FareShare has returned to its newly improved ‘home’. After 12 months of undertaking major building works, Melbourne’s largest charity kitchen FareShare reopened its doors on 2 April. 

The major redevelopment added an extra kitchen and briefing room and upgraded facilities to create more storage and warehouse space.

In a word – it is spectacular. FareShare staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to assist with the co-ordination of the project and have shown incredible flexibility to ensure our important work producing meals for people in need could still happen.

In particular, FareShare could not have undertaken this redevelopment without the support of the Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) and the Melbourne Farmers Market (MFM).

For just over a year, MACS and MFM shared their invaluable kitchen spaces with us, enabling FareShare to continue cooking its free, nutritious meals. Our tireless chefs and volunteers cooked almost 700,000 meals for people doing it tough out of these temporary kitchens. 

MACS/Catholic Leadership Centre (CLC)

MACS runs the Catholic Leadership Centre facility in East Melbourne, which is home to accommodation, function space and a state-of-the-art, commercial kitchen.

Not only did MACS loan us half of their kitchen but they also devoted space for us to erect a prep and packing station marquee.

“For all of 2023 and into this year, we have seen more families struggling with paying their mortgages, more Victorians going on the pension for the first time, more people unable to afford to feed themselves and their families,” FareShare CEO Marcus Godinho explained.

Chef Arnel (front) and volunteers prepare meals on day one in our CLC prep and packing station.

“We are very grateful to the MACS community for partnering with us and offering the use of their commercial kitchen to provide half a million cooked, comforting meals to these families and people who need them.”

During our time at CLC, hundreds of our regular volunteers gave up around 20,000 hours of their time to assist our chefs in cooking FareShare’s ‘meals with heart’.

“From the day we arrived, everyone at CLC was very welcoming and a real pleasure to work with,” said FareShare Assistant Kitchen Manager Tania Visentini. 

FareShare chefs and volunteers rejoice MACS for letting us use their kitchen on the final day at CLC.

“And we are already deeply missing the wonderful MACS staff, who regularly lent us a hand to help us prepare our free, nutritious meals for people doing it tough.”

This crew (pictured) assembled 378 delicious roast lamb dinners with peas, beans, roast spuds, and a mustard sauce. Many thanks to all the MACS volunteers  for their energetic support.

“MACS was delighted to support FareShare to deliver thousands of meals each week to Victorian families in need,” MACS Executive Director Dr Edward Simons said. 

MACS team members help FareShare prepare meals at CLC.

“Our partnership also provided MACS staff and students the opportunity to learn about food insecurity, food waste and food rescue through volunteering opportunities.”

We were also pleased to welcome Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas to CLC and to show him our wonderful partnership in action last year. FareShare remains grateful to Treasurer Pallas for selecting us as the 2023 Victorian State Budget charity.

We would like to thank MACS for allowing us to operate out of their Catholic Leadership Centre kitchen, for being so hospitable, and for sharing their warm, welcoming environment with us. 

FareShare CEO Marcus Godinho with MACS Executive Director Edward Simons.

Melbourne Farmers Market, Alphington

MFM CEO Anne Duncan, FareShare CEO Marcus Godinho, and FareShare chef Polly.

FareShare welcomed hundreds of corporate volunteering crews and Schools in the Kitchen groups into the MFM’s Alphington kitchen. 

We are so grateful for the generous hospitality extended to us by Anne Duncan, CEO of the Melbourne Farmers Market, and her all-female team at the Alphington Farmers Market site over the past 12 months.

“Thank you, Anne and the Melbourne Farmers Market, for hosting us and making it possible to cook so many nutritious meals for people in our community experiencing food insecurity,” Marcus says.

Volunteers participate in a corporate volunteering experience at the MFM kitchen.

“It was a natural decision,” Melbourne Farmers Market CEO Anne Duncan says. “FareShare needed a kitchen space and we had one. We loved the idea of helping FareShare make an impact one meal at a time!”

From the moment we arrived, everyone at MFM was super welcoming, helpful and encouraging, and a positive team to work alongside.

At our year in Alphington, we welcomed 195 corporate crews, 115 school classes – for a hands-on experience that teaches students about food waste and food insecurity – and plenty of FareShare’s regular volunteers

All up, they prepped, cooked, and packed over 120,000 nutritious vegetarian meals destined for people doing it tough.

Students from Kolbe Catholic College take part in a Schools in the Kitchen experience.

While the kitchen was a lot smaller than what we were used to at Abbotsford, the crews (and our FareShare team) really enjoyed its cosiness and intimacy. Volunteers got to work up close and personal with our chefs and a real camaraderie developed.

Feedback was glowing. 

“I will find more compassion in my heart and remember that there are people who don’t have a choice to have a meal when I don’t like what I’m eating,” one student told us after completing a Schools in the Kitchen morning at MFM.

“It’s great knowing that I’ve helped hundreds of people suffering from food insecurity in a way that they don’t have to worry about how they will get food, even for just one meal of the day,” another student said.

Chefs Emma and Polly enjoy cooking at the MFM Alphington kitchen.

And our FareShare staff enjoyed the bonus fresh air and being close to the beautiful community garden for pre-shift briefings, lunches and tea breaks. And the company of the MFM team’s dogs who accompany their staff to work – such good therapy!

“It is exciting to be moving back ‘home’ to Abbotsford, but we are also sad to say goodbye to our temporary kitchen and new buddies,” FareShare chef Emma James said. 

“What a welcoming year it has been at MFM,” she added.  “We couldn’t have been luckier than to find such a perfect space for our schools and corporate volunteers. We leave having felt very generously welcomed.” 

We have enjoyed enhancing our relationship with MFM and look forward to more collaboration in the future.

With soaring cost of living pressures ongoing and the cold winter months looming, FareShare’s revamped kitchen arrives at a pivotal juncture; our charity partner waitlist is the longest it has ever been.

FareShare has been cooking free, nutritious meals for millions of Victorians doing it tough for more than two decades. As our chefs and volunteers settle back in and ramp up production on our free, nutritious meals, we ask for your support in helping us respond to the increased demand for our meals. 

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