With domestic and family violence being the principal cause of homelessness for women and their children in Australia*, OzHarvest is doing its bit to help victims regain their independence by building their knowledge in basic life skills through its NEST program.
NEST (Nutrition Education Sustenance Training), a Greater Charitable Foundation funded initiative, is a national education program teaching people in need skills and knowledge to nurture themselves through healthier eating choices and food preparation via a series of hands-on cooking and nutrition workshops.
Over the past month, OzHarvest has supported eight women who are currently seeking assistance from Got Your Back Sista, a charity that provides relief and support to women and children escaping domestic violence and who are at risk of living below the poverty line.
The final instalment of the program was held on Wednesday, 4 July at Got Your Back Sista Code’s Tighes Hill headquarters. The focus of the session was on using leftovers and making a nutritional meal with grocery items found in their fridge, freezer and cupboards (Budget Beaters and Fridge Raid).
Lea Browning, OzHarvest NEST Coordinator, said the program aims to increase community connectedness and is a great way to support women who have suffered so much at the hands of domestic violence and help get them back on their feet.
“In the big scheme of things, learning about grocery shopping on a budget and preparing nutritious meals might not seem all that important, but it certainly plays a role for women who are trying to rebuild their lives and have children to support,” said Ms Browning.
“The skills and knowledge gained through NEST helps to break down barriers associated with cooking by improving food purchasing and preparation behaviours. This ultimately leads to an increased sense of self-sufficiency and independence, which culminates in better health and life habits for the women and their children.”
Anne Long, Greater Charitable Foundation Chief Executive Officer, highlights the important role OzHarvest plays in the community and the benefits of NEST.
“Not only does OzHarvest provide valuable assistance through the provision of food to those in need, but they also do a lot of work focused on improving life outcomes for vulnerable members of the community through education and support programs,” Ms Long said.
“We fund the NEST program here in Newcastle and are proud that over the past 18 months our support has helped OzHarvest deliver workshops to more than 450 people. At Greater Charitable Foundation we are all about giving back to the community that supports us and we are grateful to be able to work with charities, like OzHarvest, to help make a difference.”
The NEST program currently operates in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Sydney and regional locations in QLD and NSW. Since it was established in Newcastle in 2014, the program has reached more than 650 people in need.
For more information on the program visit https://www.ozharvest.org/what-we-do/nest-nutrition-education/
* Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2013)