House Heroes: Feeding the hungry
They make 1.2 million meals a year, but food isn’t the only thing baking in the FareShare kitchen.
Each week hundreds of voluntary chefs cook for food charity FareShare, making 5000 healthy and free meals a day for people in crisis.
“Our volunteers are people that have a heart, they’re people who care about the community and who have learnt the secret that giving back brings a lot of joy in itself,” says Lucy Farmer, FareShare’s communications director, who responsible for building a community of like-minded people.
“We hear some harrowing stories about people who find themselves in really desperate circumstances through no fault of their own.
“You’ve got good people coming together to make a difference and there’s something very powerful about that.”
- Related story: Why volunteering is good for you
FareShare believes in a society where food isn’t wasted and no one goes hungry.
The inspirational rescue mission uses goods that would otherwise be tossed out to cook nutritious meals for those desperately in need.
It was kicked off by Melbournians pastry chef Guido Pozzebon and Steven Kolt who couldn’t understand why surplus food couldn’t be shared with the needy.
In 2002, FareShare successfully lobbied the Victorian Government to introduce Australia’s first good Samaritan law to protect food donors.
Similar legislation has since been put in place in every other state and territory.
We see some wonderful friendships baked in our kitchen
The charity is now powered by a growing community of 825 regular volunteers, including chefs, gardeners, drivers, warehouse and office volunteers.
“We see some wonderful friendships baked in our kitchen,” Lucy says.
“They’re happy people and their wellbeing is enhanced by doing something meaningful for others.
“There’s been a lot of research that shows volunteers are happier people and that giving has more pleasure than receiving, and we’ve discovered it here!”
Food wastage a national issue
Latest figures show Australians consumers throw away an astonishing 3.11 million tonnes of edible food a year.
That’s enough food to fill around 17,000 jumbo jets.
Last year alone FareShare rescued more than 820 tonnes of food that would have otherwise gone into the bin.
1.2 million meals a year
All sorts of healthy delights – in fact 1,158,569 meals a year – are vacuum packed and distributed to homeless shelters, women’s refuges, crisis centres and disadvantaged schools.
“It costs just 75 cents for FareShare to cook a free meal for someone in need – for every $15 donated we can cook an amazing 20 meals, enough to feed a family a wholesome meal every day for a week,” Lucy says.