‘We don’t have enough food’: Help fill lunchboxes for those in need

Lisa Milkovic, dedicated volunteer and Transit’s Grocery Manager.

By Emma Xerri

Narre Warren’s Transit Soup Kitchen is hoping to make the burden a little lighter for local families, with a ‘lunchbox filler’ food drive that will allow them to provide more for those in need.

Struggling with sourcing food, the soup kitchen is running their first ever drive throughout March, hoping to boost their supplies and raise awareness of the important work they are doing year round.

“We have so many families and we simply don’t have enough food coming in,” Transit volunteer Dot said.

“Supermarkets don’t have enough left over to give us, and Foodbank is passing food out elsewhere, so we’re not getting as much from Foodback as we would like. It’s been very difficult.

“We’re usually able to give people a choice of about eight or nine groceries, but now we’re down to four.

“We’re hoping that by putting out this food drive, we will be able to get some support from the community so we can help our underprivileged families, especially those with children who don’t have enough food to take to school.”

Fellow volunteer Michelle acknowledges that the cost of living crisis is hitting school students in a way that primarily goes unnoticed.

By focusing on foods that are suitable for school lunches, she hopes that Transit can do their part in providing groceries for lunch boxes that will make kids feel confident around their peers.

“I’m a teacher, and I think a lot of people don’t realise the impact of the rising cost of living on kids going to school,” she said.

“Groceries for kids’ lunchboxes are very specific. A can of baked beans, for instance, is not going to fill a lunchbox for a kid to go to school confidently.

“So there’s a niche within this need for food that is really lacking and kids are paying the price.

“Anything that will fill a lunch box and make up a meal – like muesli bars, biscuits, spreads like Vegemite or jam, snack packets – will allow kids to open up their lunchboxes in front of their friends around a table and not feel ashamed.”

Transit Soup Kitchen will be putting out posters for collections around local schools for the month of March. Alternatively, people looking to donate can drop off their non-perishable, in-date foods to Transit Soup Kitchen at 3 Webb Street on Monday afternoons, Tuesday mornings, and all day Wednesday and Thursday.

“We would appreciate any donations,” Dot added.

“The community is generally very caring, but they don’t always realise the need. So if they could help us, we would be ever so grateful.”