The Southern Peninsula Food for All began in response to needs in our local community. These needs emerged at Poverty Forums arranged by the former Shire of Flinders in 1991. Its work has been ongoing from that time. It is ecumenically and community based.
Apart from individual members Food for All’s Committee of Management includes persons drawn from the local Churches and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. We are an all-volunteer Organisation.
Over the years we have had only two Presidents, The Reverend Murray Morton, OAM who is one of our founders, from 1991 until his retirement in 2009, and our Patron, and Ken Northwood from that date until the present time. From its inception food was packed at All Saints Anglican Church hall in Rosebud until we outgrew the available space. In September 2016 we saw the dedication of our new Distribution Centre and Van, both of which were made possible through community donations, and which have provided us with a sound base into the future with our work. The Van’s registration is “FR. JOHN” named in memory of Fr. John Hannah, a much-loved Priest from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sorrento who was an ardent supporter of our work.
Food is collected through local Churches and community organisations in the former Shire of Flinders, and also from bins marked “FOOD FOR ALL” in local Supermarkets. Local Schools also support Food for All by arranging Kick-in-a-Can days.
Food is purchased from three local Supermarkets whenever possible when items are on special and most supermarkets also grant us an additional discount. These purchases, with funds donated by clubs, organisations and individuals, enable balanced food parcels to be provided.
Currently an average of 85 food parcels are packed every Thursday morning at our Distribution Centre in the grounds of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, 16 Hinton Street, Rosebud. The parcels contain a packet of cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, long life milk, coffee, biscuits, tinned fruit, tinned mea1s, tinned vegetables, cheese, vegemite, baked beans and noodles, together with various other donated items. Fresh vegetables such as cauliflowers, carrots and broccoli are distributed with the parcels, having been donated by a local farming family.
0n referral the food, parcels are distributed by members of the local Conferences of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. When Food For All was founded St. Vincent de Paul members were already assisting the community, so it was agreed that with their experience it would be best that they deliver the parcels. Food for All still operates in this way, with these wonderful volunteers not only helping with food, but also with other aspects of St. Vincent de Paul work.
The work of all volunteers associated with Food for All is outstanding.
In its 29 years of operation to June 2019 Food for All packed and distributed 70,868 food parcels. To the end of December 2019 over 9,887 Christmas hampers have been packed and distributed with toys being given to the children of the families receiving a hamper. During winter each year members of our community knit jumpers, beanies and gloves to be given with our weekly parcels. In addition, over the last 18 years we have collected and distributed just on 3,750 blankets.
Food for All is most fortunate to have strong community support and it would not be possible to operate without the Mornington Peninsula’s loyal and caring public. It makes volunteering for Food for All so very special and worthwhile.
Diane Falconer OAM