Sunday, November 20, 2011

giving your fare share

Originally posted on my other blog but sometimes food and politics intersect.

This week I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of StreetSmart’s grant recipients. We got to see behind the scenes at The Social Studio and break (injera) bread with Marcus and Kelly from FareShare.

I’d heard of Fareshare, largely through @msmadwoman’s singles cooking for a cause events, but knew little of the logistics behind this burgeoning organization. These guys turn industrial quantities of donated ingredients into (correct me if I got the number wrong Marcus) half a million meals a year.

200,000 people in Victoria are classified as food insecure, regularly missing meals because they can’t afford to eat. While much of the food and labour is donated, the out of pocket cost of turning a pallet of just-within-sell-by-date-chicken into chicken pies is about 50 cents a meal. That’s the culinary equivalent of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Which got me thinking. Having been a victim of Westpac taking over my handpicked non-big-four bank twice now, I’m still choking on the $90 million they’ve spent to rebadge the recently acquired St George Bank back into (the previously raided and closed) Bank of Melbourne. While banks like Westpac are known for their corporate philanthropy, such as releasing staff to do voluntary work for a few days a year (in places like the FareShare kitchen) I’d have preferred they spent the money buying 180 million extra meals for disadvantaged locals.

While we’d like to think these grassroots organizations would love us to volunteer our time, in reality they’d prefer our (and the corporates) money. See the contact details below if you’d like to share the love this season.

Streetsmart: If you aren’t eating out at any participating restaurants this festive season, you can donate directly

FareShare: donate online every buck buys two meals.

The Social Studio: provides a variety of ways you can contribute to helping refugees start a new life, from having a coffee at the café or buying a new frock, to donating directly.

M.A.D Woman: has a range of innovative fundraising events for everyone (not just singles).

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