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.
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