Young people at risk of, or experiencing crisis and instability can remain connected to their community and enjoy a good meal through the Meals for Change program in Ballarat.
Made possible through our partnership with more than 20 community agencies, and nine cafés in the local area, Meals for Change enables members to purchase nutritious meals at a subsidised price.
The program is available to people like Dan, who has experienced homelessness on and off for a number of years. Dan says the program has made
a big difference to his life.
Dan uses his membership card during times of hardship and chooses wholesome meal options from a range of cafés, with staff who welcome him and ensure he feels comfortable. It’s not unusual for a Meals for Change meal to be the only substantial food he eats all day. He can also offer the same deal to a friend or family member, which helps to keep him connected to the people who matter most to him.
Meals for Change coordinator, Jen Pollard, said the program is about more than just providing affordable meals to those in crisis. Meals for Change receives no government funding, relying solely on grants and the generosity of the local community. Over the last three years, donations in partner cafés have raised close to $15,000. These funds go towards providing more than 400 meals.
Young people can access the program through referral by their support worker.
“Most importantly, we give them a sense of community and belonging. They know they are safe and welcome, which is something we often take for granted,”
“People in the program can also get support to pursue education and training opportunities that help them find work and stability,” Jen said.
Partner cafés proudly display the Meals for Change logo in their windows to show their support for some of Ballarat’s most vulnerable young people.