Eat For Your Life is a not-for-profit community organisation based on Brisbane’s south side. They provide food, a safe place to meet, training, and mentorship in the local community.
The Eat For Your Life Community Café is staffed by return to work program participants. They provide a fully financed Certificate II in Kitchen Operations through their partnership with the Institute of Culinary Excellence.
Free Meals for the Local Community
Free meals are distributed to local community groups to provide those in need with a tasty, nutritious meal. Return to work program participants make these meals in the commercial kitchen and package them.
Dee Wicks is General Manager and Program Manager for Eat For Your Life and says that as well as making meals, trainees are learning life skills to help them maintain employment once they graduate.
Food for the meals is donated daily to the charity by Coles, Second Bite and Foodbank. ‘We’re able to cook the food straight away,’ says Dee. ‘Everything we do is portioned as a single meal in a takeaway container to be donated.’
Training and Employment Opportunities
Dee also takes her trainees to other community organisations, where they can learn how to cook and serve. ‘Food creates such a feeling of connection. It’s so amazing how hospitality and sharing a meal can help build relationships.’
As well as donating meals, Dee’s goal is to get all her trainees into work. ‘I’ve just had two of my trainees gain employment at Government House in the food service division,’ she says. ‘It’s just amazing to watch them succeed.’
Food For Your Life will be running another upskilling program in September this year and is looking for more participants. ‘We’re looking for people who have not worked for a long time or are looking to reskill,’ Dee says.
Feed as Many People as Possible
Dee is also looking for other community organisations to partner with and says that donating meals not only gives her trainees experience cooking and serving but keeps a lot of food from being thrown into landfills.
‘We want to help to feed as many people as we can,’ says Dee. ‘There is so much need in the community, and we are always looking for ways to provide meal support.’