Victorians serving court or parole orders are being given the opportunity to work in the FareShare kitchen as part of their community service.
The innovative program aims to help FareShare increase production while promoting positive behaviour change among offenders. The first shift took place last week and the program will run when the kitchen is normally closed on Friday evenings – to be extended to Sundays if successful.
The Department of Justice and Regulation, North West Metropolitan Area, is financially supporting the pilot project and will donate produce through its ‘Cultivating Place Cultivating People’ program, a network of community gardens where other offenders grow vegetables.
Dr Peter Ewer, Executive Director, said the partnership “provides an important opportunity for offenders to actively give back to the most vulnerable members of our community, and at the same point improve their job skills, thus steering them away from further offending.”
FareShare general manager Kellie Watson, who developed the pilot project with the Department of Justice, said she hoped the program would be a win-win outcome for the community, leading to thousands more meals for those in need while offering a positive rehabilitation experience for participants.