Indigenous communities often find it hard to access affordable, nutritious food and when COVID-19 caused many to close their borders, the situation became worse.

FareShare’s Brisbane kitchen has made numerous “no contact” meal deliveries to aboriginal communities in South East Queensland where nearly 50,000 meals have been dropped off since the pandemic started.

FareShare’s first delivery was to Goondir Health Services in Dalby which helped get the program started prompting interest from other communities about our “awesome” meals.

Cherbourg, an aboriginal community three hours from Brisbane and home to a population of 1,400, followed. With around five people living in each house, this small community was particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus and closed its borders to outside visitors.

FareShare’s Madison Buik and SecondBite’s Jason Mollenhauer were granted special access after clearing temperature and health checks to deliver FareShare meals.

Mayor Elvie (pictured left with Cherbourg resident Marg) and other council members delivered the meals to around 375 homes, ensuring everyone received their share.  The mayor reported the kids were very excited by the meals – especially chef James’ roast chicken.

Chatur Zala, CEO of Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council which has loaned FareShare a van to assist with deliveries, said, “We are so thankful for the wonderful work FareShare does and we would be so grateful for any extra meals over the next coming months.”

The meal relief program has since been extended to include support to other aboriginal communities including Toolemah in New South Wales – an 800km round trip.

Madison, who has been leading FareShare’s engagement with Indigenous communities, said, “It’s been a very humbling experience knowing we can help these communities by providing a nutritious meal during this difficult time. I am so grateful for the warm welcome we’ve received and look forward to growing FareShare’s relationship with Indigenous communities.”

The Indigenous meal relief program faced significant logistical challenges and was facilitated by fantastic collaboration. SecondBite played a key role in instigating it with Woolworths and Foodbank providing the nutritious ingredients to cook with and Eat Up loaning us a freezer van for the long delivery runs.