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SmartMeals Rebooted in 2022 to Keep Providing Meals, Training and Jobs

(Photo: Moon Rabbit Cafe)

In 2022, as rents and cost of living expenses have risen, more and more people struggle to put food on their table. Too many people are ‘just hanging on’ to their housing or have tipped over into homelessness. Food insecurity and hunger remain huge challenges for us across our communities, with our partner organisations experiencing unprecedented demand for support. Not only is hunger an issue for people unexpectedly made unemployed through COVID-19, or previously experiencing poverty and homelessness, but now food insecurity is impacting people in work, struggling to pay their bills.  Food is often the first thing to be cut back when budgets tighten.

 

SmartMeals was established in March 2020 as an emergency response to COVID-19, providing nutritious community meals for people impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, while also keeping hospitality workers in jobs. Through 2021 we continued to make community meals, but with a focus on making these meals in partnership with social enterprise cafes, supporting their training and job readiness programs for people struggling to enter the workforce. 

We’ve now just kicked it all off again with $52,000 of funding for 12 weeks of support, but we need your support to keep delivering.

266,671

Nutritious Meals Provided

100

People Employed / Trained

1,438,083

Funds Distributed

“Our collaboration with the Red Cross Night Café started when the SmartMeals funding came in, before that we didn’t have the capacity. We’ve been supplying vulnerable youth on the streets with 80 meals a week through that partnership and another 10 meals go to at-risk local school kids via Community Connections.

Another partnership with Community Living Associations supports 25 adults with cognitive disabilities to socialise over a meal. The free SmartMeals give everybody a bit more time to interact without financial stress”

Kirsty Leigh, Espresso Train Café, QLD

Social enterprise cafes were hit hard by COVID, often closing down and losing revenue. Staff hours were cut back or curtailed. They need help rebuilding their businesses, while offering the supportive work programs that enabled marginalised people to find training and job pathways. 

“It has been a terrible start to the year in Queensland with the borders open and every other person coming down with COVID. Our community partners have also communicated an increase in need and food insecurity as supply chains have been impacted by the increase of COVID in the community.
SmartMeals has helped us continue to support the employment of 8 people with disabilities to work up to 50 hours per week. This program is a win-win for all who participate.”

Deb Griesheimer, Lagoon Creek Cafe, QLD.

Charity Partner

State

Deadly Espresso Cafe

QLD – Eumundi

The Met Cafe

NSW – Wollongong

Espresso Train Cafe

QLD – Nundah/Brisbane

Hope St Café

QLD – Brisbane

Lagoon Creek Cafe

QLD – Caboolture

Moon Rabbit Cafe

VIC – Melbourne

Plate it Forward

NSW – Sydney

With the need for community meals rising and social enterprise cafes needing support to rebuild, we have raised funds from our generous donor community, and rebooted the SmartMeals program once again to run for 12 weeks up to the end of June. Currently seven social enterprise cafes are cooking 878 meals per week for their local communities and providing training to their vulnerable trainees.

“SmartMeals funds the education, training and employment of our students who will be learning their skills by cooking meals we donate to their communities. The grant is crucial as food insecurity continues to be a battle our community members are facing as well as unequal employment opportunities due to barriers to career pathways.”

Shaun Christie-David, Plate It Forward, NSW

Since we launched SmartMeals back in March 2020 we have cooked up and distributed 266,671, community meals provided through a network of close to 75 charities.

To help us fund SmartMeals and provide Meals, Training and Jobs from July – September 2022 donate a SmartMeal for $5 here.