Providing Food For Those Less Fortunate
After many discussions and votes in class, the Year 9 O’Donnell Homeroom decided to focus their Strive9 project on providing those who are less fortunate with hot meals. As a class, they researched charity organisations they could donate meals too. The group chose the OMALAS Project who were thrilled to have the support of the Year 9 O’Donnell students.
O’Donnell student Zoe Smith explains, “As a class, we decided to focus on providing meals for the less fortunate, as it was an area we could all agree needed some assistance. Many of us have seen how devastating homelessness can be and we wanted to spread some kindness to these people however we could. When we heard about the OMALAS Project it inspired us to cook meals as we wanted to help the homeless have a meal or two that filled them up and gave them nutrition.”
The group liaised with Michael Hansen, founder of the OMALAS Project, to work out how many meals and the types of food most needed. The girls also wanted to send small messages to those receiving the meals. Michael guided the students as to what to include in these letters. The students then reached out to the community for support as well as donating $10.00 each. During PCT the students wrote 90 letters and made ingredient and recipe cards to place on each meal.
Once the meals were cooked and packed into individual serves in environmentally friendly compostable containers, the meals were delivered to the OMALAS project. Michael and his team then delivered the meals to St Patrick’s Community Support in Fremantle. The meals supplied complemented the normal dinner service offered by the OMALAS Project enabling the patrons to have a hearty meal the following day. The delivery was very well received by the patrons and the housing engagement officer at St Pat’s also passed along a special thanks to the students, highlighting how much it meant to those he supports.
Student Asha Richardson said, “The meals we cooked for The OMALAS Project included butter chicken curry, spaghetti bolognese, and bangers and mash. We also baked tons of brownies and cookies. By the end of the day, we had produced exactly 106, eco-friendly packaged meals for the homeless to enjoy! “
To put their project into place, the girls reached out to local businesses receiving donations from Costco and Coles, Melville. Once the donations were in place, they went about buying the food.
Student Paige Lagana says, “Implementation Day was an exciting and nerve-racking day. We had the food rooms booked for the last half of the day, which meant we had the first half of the day to prep our boxes and separate the food into their groups. We started cooking around lunchtime and by the end of the day, the meals were packed and, in the car, ready to go.”
Although exhausted, following Implementation Day, students felt proud, accomplished and very grateful for the experience to help those less fortunate.
OMALAS were very grateful for the support and recognised how valuable the experience was for the student, to be able to see a project through from start to finish that has a positive impact on so many other lives. Michael took several videos showing the appreciation of those receiving the meals and letters. There are no words to summarise what it is like to witness the girls’ hard work being appreciated and knowing that they have made someone’s day. The girls were also able to donate all leftover ingredients which was also very well received.
“As the girls’ Homeroom teacher, I am very proud of what the students achieved. They exceeded their goals, worked together as a team, compromised, showed initiative, problem solved and demonstrated outstanding leadership skills. There are so many aspects of this project that I love. The most rewarding part for me was taking in the expressions on the students’ faces as they loaded all of the meals into the car, completing a final count and celebrating when they realised, they cooked an extra 26 meals than planned.”, said Jodii White.
In conclusion, student Amelia Taranto added, “By cooking these meals for those who are less fortunate, we have been able to provide food security, even if it is just for a few nights. It also symbolises so much more than food. It shows that we as a community care about them and their needs, and it inspires others to do the same. As humans, we can and should help whoever is in need to our best capacity, and in doing this, we have helped people in need by allowing a nutritious meal, and a night that they do not have to worry about where their next meal will come from.”