SecondBite works with organisations across Australia to get food to the people who need it most. Our partners provide community-focused programs that aim to give people doing it tough the support that is right for them.
Fresh food from SecondBite helps Father Bob’s provide ‘food, friendship and hope to the hungry, lonely and homeless’.
The Father Bob Maguire Foundation (Father Bob’s) is based in the City of Port Philip, an area with one of the highest densities of housing commission estates in Melbourne. For people struggling on low or non-existent incomes, a poor diet and being unable to afford enough food to eat, affects their health, mental wellbeing and their ability to get on in life.
SecondBite provides a weekly supply of groceries and fresh produce for use in Father Bob’s food relief programs: a restaurant on wheels – nicknamed the ‘HopeMobile’ – and a Community Pantry. Both programs provide a much-needed source of food, friendship and hope for many in the community.
Graham has been volunteering on community meal programs established by Father Bob for 7 years and with SecondBite for 3 years. He explains how food from SecondBite helps the HopeMobile team run community programs that ‘feed more than just hunger’:
‘The idea is simple: each week we set up a number of regular ‘outdoor dining rooms’ in public spaces, mainly parks, and provide free meals and takeaway hampers for our friends, many of whom are regular visitors, coming as much for the company and conversation as the meals.
The program is a team effort; it wouldn’t work without the commitment and dedication of our wonderful volunteers who prepare the food at our warehouse in South Melbourne, before packing it into our HopeMobiles, along with tables, chairs, gazebos, cutlery – everything we need to create an outdoor dining room from scratch.
We set the dining area up so that people can sit down and enjoy their food with others. As one of our friends said, we’re ‘feeding more than just hunger’
The fruit and veg we get from SecondBite changes every week, so the food we share is always changing; people aren’t just being given the same thing every time. It’s a small detail, but we like to think it makes people feel valued; fresh, home-cooked food is something that many of our friends wouldn’t otherwise get to eat very often.
We set the dining area up so that people can sit down and enjoy their food with others. As one of our friends said, we’re ‘feeding more than just hunger’ – it’s about the fundamental human need for food and friendship. Being able to socialise with family or friends is something that many of us take for granted – just having someone to talk to, or ask us how we are, or how our day was.
To use Father Bob’s words, these meals are a way of “providing the ‘outsider’ with connection to the community and a sense of belonging.” It’s not easy being in a position where you can’t afford enough food for yourself, or your family, or need someone to talk to, so by sharing these meals in a public space, people can engage with others on their own terms; it’s about respect and dignity.
For many of our friends, the meals are a ‘first step’. They come along, get to know the people in our community, meet the volunteers, the outreach staff, build up a sense of connection and then, if they feel comfortable, they can start making use of the Foundation’s other support and advocacy services.’
Last year, Father Bob’s served up over 24,000 meals and helped provide more than 7,000 food hampers. The Foundation employs only three full time staff, supported over the years by hundreds of volunteers who have given their time, love and culinary skills to turn rescued food into delicious, nutritious, meals for those in need.