Food Club by Julie Seaton
My name is Julieann Seaton. I have been running ‘Food For ALL’ Melbourne food club for around seven years. Years ago, someone told me about the Marsh Food Club that Debbie Hargreaves ran. I had a minibus, so I asked around a few families that I felt would benefit from it and asked if they’d like me to take them.
Back then, the donation was £3, one young mum told me that she didn’t have £3 until Monday, this was on a Wednesday. I couldn’t believe that in this day and age someone didn’t have £3 to their name, I suppose I was blind to the fact that poverty still existed.
When I was at school, I used to take cornflakes round to my friend before school and she would have them with tap water for breakfast. She’d then have a free school dinner and that was it until the next day. Things haven’t changed much since then; childhood poverty still very much exists.
With these thoughts in my mind, I decided to start a food club myself. I owned a pub then, so premise space wasn’t an issue, one visit to Fareshare organisation and with help from Debbie Hargreaves, we were up and running. We had around 25 to 30 families coming per week.
During COVID-19, we were able to obtain lots more food from Fareshare. The shops and restaurants were shut but food was still being produced and needed to go somewhere. At this point, we were feeding well over 100 families per week as well as Walter Lyon House rehab centre, Women’s Aid, and a nunnery.
Now, with the help of Fareshare, Neighbourly, my two volunteers, and more recently Eggcup, we run it from my home. We manage to feed around 65 to 70 families per week, and we also have emergency packs, so that at any time during the week people can come and get food, nappies, and hygiene products. Every day we are out collecting food, debagging food, and saving food. Anything that can be safely saved until the Thursday, is put out on the front of my house so people can help themselves to it.
Times are getting a lot harder though and we aren’t getting as much from Fareshare as we used to, because there is more food poverty. People from all walks of life need support from us, not just people on benefits. People on full-time benefits are often financially secure because their outcome doesn’t change much, it’s those on 0-hour contracts who need support, and that needs to change.
You can visit our Food Club’s private Facebook group here.
Or our general page for information about what we do.