VCAL Excursion to Pantry 5000

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Foundation and Intermediate VCAL Community Service Excursion to Pantry 5000

This term Intermediate VCAL students have been completing an integrated project on addressing the issue of homelessness and marginalisation in our community. On 14 August the Intermediate and Foundation VCAL students along with their teachers visited St Aiden’s Church in Longbeach, the  Anglican Parish of Carrum, to help with the Pantry 5000 program.

The aim of this food distribution centre is to provide thousands of meals for those in need, experiencing financial hardship, disability or homelessness in Southern Kingston and Northern Frankston municipalities. The coordinator of the program, Ken Gooding, sources over two tonnes of food from Second Bite Australia and brings it back to the church to be processed and packed every Tuesday. This food costs Ken around $300-400 a week but is valued at around $18, 000 and provides groceries for over 200 families, particularly single parent families, and returns about $250,000 worth of value to the community each year.

After a brief introduction from Ken’s wife, Sue, the students washed their hands, put on gloves, rolled up their sleeves and immediately got stuck into bagging up apples, packing onions, slicing pumpkins, sorting through avocados, packaging rice, dividing up apple pies and ice creams and unloading hundreds of kilograms of food from the refrigerated truck.

Students worked in teams, using their initiative, problem solving skills and made conversation with community volunteers, all the while drawing on and developing their job ready skills and achieving the learning outcomes required for the completion of Personal Development Skills Unit 2. Not only did students build on their awareness and understanding of the plight of thousands of families in need and the increasing population of homeless in Australia but  they became more equipped to raise awareness of these important issues in the community and, by doing so, hopefully contribute to the solution of these issues.

I was extremely proud of the behaviour and respect the students showed to Ken and his wife, the volunteers and to each other and hope that this experience will instil important life lessons and help them develop much needed job ready skills to equip them to move beyond the school gates and enter the workforce as responsible and compassionate citizens of our community.

Mara Sears

Teacher of VCAL