Vegan Community Meals

This unique and innovative project is a one of a kind program happening in Melbourne under the umbrella of the Vegan Easy campaign run by Animal Liberation Victoria.

Thanks to a start up grant from the City of Port Phillip we have partnered with the St Kilda Youth Crisis Centre to provide meals for the clients at their refuge, and to teach youth in need how to cook delicious vegan food.

The importance of this program cannot be underestimated. Even in an affluent country like Australia 1 in 5 children go hungry. According to Foodbank research, hunger amongst Australian kids is more common than once imagined, with 1 in 3 parents living in food insecure homes saying their children go hungry at least once a month. Meanwhile, at least once a week, 18% of food insecure children go to school without eating breakfast, 15% go to school without a packed lunch or lunch money and 11% go to bed without eating dinner.

The effects of food insecurities can leach into all facets of life. Hunger is often painful, causes moodiness and stress, and lessens the ability to concentrate and function. People often turn to cheap unhealthy fast foods which don’t have the proper nutrients to fuel their bodies back to a functional level.

This is where we come in. We aim to provide nutritional vegan food that nourishes the body and fuels the mind. As the people who come through this centre are often still young, they don’t always have the skills or support to make good, healthy food choices. This is why we aim to educate about what nutritious food is, and more importantly how to make it.

We do this by providing the opportunity for these youth to come into the kitchen and cook with us. By doing this they learn new recipes and kitchen skills so they can cost-effectively provide for themselves whenever they can. This is crucial for setting up healthy eating skills, but also gives them the ability to create informed food choices and a sense of self-determination.

And of course, our kitchen is always vegan. Not only is this the most ethical way to eat, preventing the exploitation of countless animals, it is also the healthiest. In the most comprehensive study to be conducted into diet and disease, The China Study showed plant-based diets to be associated with decreased risks of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and many other diseases.

So how you can help?

  • Cook With Us: We need about 2 or 3 volunteers for every session we run. Let us know if you are interested in being involved by filling out our volunteer form. Note: If you are over 18 years old you’ll need a Working With Children Check to be involved with this project. WWCC is free for volunteer purposes.
  • Leadership Opportunities: We would love to expand this project and make it sustainable. To do this we need extra people who are skilled coordinators to come on board and help out.
  • Get Creative: We want to keep meals new and exciting from week-to-week, you can help us do this by creating or sharing your delicious recipes with us. The program suits recipes that can be cooked in bulk, preferably with seasonal foods and low in cost.
  • Donate: If you have preservable foods you’d like to donate such as canned goods, rice, beans that would help us enormously and mean that we can make our money stretch further to help more people.
  • Equipment: The world is full of good second hand equipment that gets forgotten about or tossed into landfill, which is terrible for the environment. So instead of purchasing more things, we would love to source some good kitchen essentials that are no longer used by their owners. Our current wishlist includes: a big rice cooker, stick blender, large ~20L stockpot, large commercial cutting boards and good quality knives.
  • Support us: This service is 100% free. There are no costs for the centre or the clients to be involved or receive meals and that is how it will always be. We try to run this program for a minimal cost to us but unfortunately food is expensive. If you dont have time to spare, please consider sparing some change to help us help them. By donating or signing up as a member we can keep providing for those in need.

You can contact us at info@alv.org.au, or sign up to volunteer here.

Thank you!