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Morwell Neighbourhood House – Peoples Kitchen

Stage 1

The Morwell Neighbourhood House’s (MNH) People’s Kitchen initiative has been doing incredible work for the most vulnerable in our community by providing nutritious meals to those in need.

In 2021, the Latrobe Health Assembly embarked on a joint research program with MNH to identify ways of expanding the service, its reach and, importantly, looking at ways of tackling food insecurity before the need even arises to seek the support of the People’s Kitchen.

Following this research, the Morwell Neighbourhood House partnered with the Latrobe Health Assembly to enable MNH to utilise their People’s Kitchen and related programs to implement an inclusive whole person approach to addressing issues of food security, health and wellbeing based on the following five potential solutions: 

  • Enabling relevant community agencies to participate in Peoples Kitchen, Food Bank, and community garden activities (for implementation in 2022).  
  • Reaching out to communities in the Latrobe Valley who are marginalised in relation to access to resources and services (for implementation in 2022). 
  • Framing the Food Bank and Peoples Kitchen as a key point of access for clients and volunteers to government, health, and community services (for implementation in 2022). 
  • Offering access for Peoples Kitchen participants to formal training, skills recognition, and vocational qualifications (planning July-Dec 2022 for implementation in 2023). 
  • Investigating ways to engage secondary schools in addressing the question of food security and the feasibility for senior secondary students to participate in aspects of the People’s Kitchen concept (planning July-Dec 2022 for implementation in 2023).
Stage 2

The People’s Kitchen has received funding from Latrobe Health Assembly expand to into 2025. Delivered by Morwell Neighbourhood House, the program is a collaboration with Latrobe Health Assembly, EnergyAustralia and Morwell Neighbourhood House that provides homecooked meals for those in need.

People’s Kitchen calls on the generosity of local businesses and community groups to volunteer their time to prepare nutritious meals for the community. The expansion of the program will see nutritionist-designed meal plans, the packaging of People’s Kitchen as a model that can be reproduced by other community groups, and micro grants to assist community groups to adapt and deliver the model themselves.

Communities know what they need, and Neighbourhood Houses are all about empowering communities to develop solutions to meet those needs. Morwell Neighbourhood House’s People’s Kitchen is a perfect example of that,” said CEO of Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, Keir Peterson.

According to the 2020 Victorian Population Health Survey:

  • 6.6% of the Latrobe Valley population experience food insecurity with hunger
  • 11.3% of Latrobe Valley families ran out of money to buy food in the last 12 months
  • 18.1% of the Latrobe Valley population indicated that they never, or not often, feel valued by society, compared to Victoria’s 11%

On her experience volunteering with People’s Kitchen, Co-Founder of Girls with Hammers, Kerryn Vaughn, said, “It’s a good way to take ownership… It’s actually pouring your love into it and saying ‘You’re a valuable human being and you deserve to know your food was made with you in mind.’”

Since the beginning of the People’s Kitchen, there have been:

  • 596 individual volunteers preparing frozen meals for distribution.
  • 2,728 hours in volunteered time.
  • An estimated $118,040,56 in volunteered hours.
  • 7,940 frozen meals prepared.

“Food insecurity is an ongoing challenge with no one-size-fits-all approach. The People’s Kitchen doesn’t say ‘here’s a solution’, it says ‘we can all be part of the solution’. Inviting the community to the table is what creates lasting change” says Latrobe Health Assembly Chair, Tanya Rong.

Watch the ABC’s spotlight on the People’s Kitchen below.  

Address: 48-50 Beattie Cres, Morwell VIC 3840
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