It’s often an unexpected crisis that can leave a family struggling to make ends meet. The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting job losses have left many people in our community struggling to put food on the table.

In September 2020 five Neighbourhood Houses in Maribyrnong joined forces and took action to ensure people in their community didn’t go without. A pilot project called NOURISH was launched to rescue surplus food and provide free, nutritious meals for people doing it tough.

Food that is still good enough to eat but can no longer be sold, is transformed into delicious, healthy meals at the Yarraville Community Centre kitchen by a qualified staff member. The food is then distributed to community members by the five Neighbourhood Houses in Maribyrnong. The project not only helps to feed the community but supports the environment by reducing food waste.

“The pilot project was a huge success and we were able to support over a thousand people with food relief in less than 10 weeks”, said Lana Bedford, Manager of Duke Street Community House. “We are seeing people coming to us in great need. Some of them are people we wouldn’t normally connect with but because of the economic circumstances, and the challenges they are facing, they need food”.

Thanks to a $75,000 State Government Community Food Relief Fund grant, the NOURISH program will continue and expand in 2021.

“We did not receive any funding for the initial pilot project and relied on volunteers and donations, so this funding boost is much-needed”, said Rheanna Christodoulou Manager, West Footscray Neighbourhood House. “We will now be able to hire staff, recruit new volunteers and buy equipment to increase the capacity and reach of the project”.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Foodbank, Lions, Rotary, CWA, and a range of local businesses for partnering with us to support community members who are in need of support”, said Meg Higgins of Angliss Neighbourhood House.

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