by Liz Patterson

Last Tuesday, 17 students from Years 9, 10 and 11 travelled to the FareShare kitchen in Abbotsford to chop, prep and cook meals for Victorians doing it tough. This is the third year we have taken part in this wonderful program, with the travel costs being met by a grant from the Lord Mayor’s Fund, making it possible for everyone to attend. However, each student was asked to donate 2kg of either rice or pasta, two staple ingredients that are used by FareShare on a daily basis and was gratefully excepted.

Our shift wasn’t till the afternoon, so we had lunch at one of the many Vietnamese restaurants found in the Abbotsford area. For most students this was their first encounter with Vietnamese food, and some were unsure what they had to do with their ‘Pho’, and many had some laughs trying to eat slippery noodles with chopsticks. Whatever the students thought of the food, it was a good experience for them to try food from another culture.

As part of the FareShare Schools in the Kitchen program, the students cooked 986 sausage rolls, lined 1400 quiche trays, then packed and labelled nearly 4,000 pastry products during their session in the kitchen. They also learnt valuable lessons about the reality of hunger in our community, as well as issues around food waste and rescue, plus the bonuses of volunteering. 

Once again, the volunteer supervisors and the schools co-ordinator were blown away by the speed at which our students worked, and how well they co-operated with each other, even when cleaning-up. We actually finished our shift ¾ hour early, so were able to escape Melbourne early and avoid the worst of the peak hour traffic.

It was both a fun day, and an extremely worthwhile day, giving the students a real insight into the huge amount of ‘need’ in our supposedly affluent society. Thanks to Mr. Smart for coming with us and driving the bus.