Community Connect: Monday Night Community Meals at the Anglican Church in Wonthaggi, VIC

The Anglican Church in Wonthaggi, located on the Bass Coast of Victoria, is part of SecondBite’s Community Connect™ program. Through Community Connect, SecondBite identifies local suppliers of nutritious, surplus fresh produce that might otherwise go to waste, and enables its distribution to community food programs by connecting agencies with suppliers.

The Anglican Church in Wonthaggi began its community meal back in March 2011 just as the construction of the Victorian Desalination plant was in full swing. With over 5000 well paid workers building the Desal, many of the families most in need in the community suffered in the housing crisis. As demand for housing rose, many of the most marginalised people in the community struggled to pay their rent or became homeless.

The church decided that they could help with meals and began serving a free cooked meal each Monday night.  Their friends at Anglicare put them in touch with SecondBite and right from the beginning the Coles store in Wonthaggi began supplying fruit, vegetables and bread to support the meal.

The group didn’t know how many people to expect but from their first night with 40 people, they realized the need was great.  Seven years later they continue to average about 100 people at each meal.  They have now served over 30,000 meals, and been supported throughout with food donations coming from SecondBite’s Community Connect program.

The volunteers make use of whatever fruit and vegetables and bread they can in the meal, but what isn’t used is made available for people to take home.  People enjoy a nutritious cooked meal and then get to take home bread, fruit and vegetables for lunches and other dinners.

Wonthaggi continues to be a needy community with many people struggling on welfare and the Monday Night Community Meals has become a tangible sign of hope and care to many families that are struggling.

The church can only continue to do this meal due to the generous support of Second Bite, Coles and other local food providers.

Adapted from text generously provided by Rev. Graeme Peters. Photos supplied by the Anglican Church in Wonthaggi.

Click here to find out more about SecondBite’s Community Connect™ program or to register your agency’s interest.