Ever wondered how we manage to feed almost 200 people a week on a limited budget? Many Rooms volunteers visit two organisations, Food bank and Second Bite, every Friday to source free or heavily discounted food. Providing food to charities like Many Rooms, Food bank and Second bite have over the years donated food worth many thousands of dollars to serve those most in need.
Food bank (located in Yarraville), supplies a range of non-perishable items like canned or packaged foods, as well as dairy (milk and yoghurt) and fruit and vegetables. After working with cooks to find out menu ingredients, we place an electronic order on their website each Thursday, and Food bank volunteers assist in picking some items ahead of pick up.
Second Bite, (located in Kensington, conveniently on the way between Yarraville to our drop off point in North Melbourne) also provides a supply of bread and fresh fruit which is sorted and pre-picked by their volunteers.
The food supplied to these organisations is donated from manufacturers, wholesalers and supermarkets and includes household names like Kelloggs, Danone, Leggos, Coles, ALDI and Woolworths. Much of the food is as fresh as that supplied to supermarkets while some is nearing its use by date, surplus to requirements, or slightly blemished such that it is not marketable but fine to consume. This food would otherwise end up as land-fill and so by re-purposing it for the needy, we are also helping the war on waste. Many Rooms has a policy to only serve food that is in date and fine to eat.
Food from these sources go a long way to meeting most of the needs for our Saturday breakfast service, and contribute significantly to other meals.
We are grateful for the work done by our team of volunteer food bank shoppers. The team has changed composition over time and each take turns to pick up food on a monthly roster. Apart from the financial benefit to us, the work they do also reduces the time spent on shopping by our kitchen teams.
Having additional volunteers to assist is always appreciated. The volunteers must have a car and current license, be able to liaise with cooks by e-mail and phone, able to lift parcels and boxes, and be available for around 3 hours during the middle of the day on Fridays.
Volunteers will be taken through the process in person so they know what to do. If anyone is interested in helping in this vital ministry, please contact Jim Davison, firstname.lastname@example.org.