OzHarvest’s commitment to improving the lives of homeless men across the Hunter has been made possible through Greater Charitable Foundation’s continued funding of the NEST (Nutrition Education Sustenance Training) program, as part of its recently-announced annual grants program.
Greater Charitable Foundation has committed $150,000 over the next three years to allow the rollout of the national education program that teaches 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.
The upcoming five-week program will involve six men from the Matthew Talbot Homeless Service in Newcastle, a charity that offers outreach support to homeless men through the provision of crisis and transitional accommodation, health services and links to legal support.
The first session will be held on Wednesday, 17 October at Matthew Talbot Hostel in Wickham from 11am to 1pm. The remaining sessions will be held weekly thereafter, covering important topics such as grocery shopping on a budget and preparing nutritious meals.
Lea Browning, OzHarvest NEST Coordinator, said the program aims to increase community connectedness and is a great way to support men who are working towards regaining their independence.
“This is the second time we’ve had the Matthew Talbot Homeless Service participate in the program, with men from last year’s cohort always keen to prepare, cook and try the meals. We saw great comradery amongst the participants, with lots of laughter and general enjoyment whilst at the same time a real sense of dedication to the tasks at hand.”
“The skills and knowledge gained through NEST help 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 men involved.”
Anne Long, Greater Charitable Foundation Chief Executive Officer, highlights the important role OzHarvest plays in the community and the benefits of NEST.
“OzHarvest provides valuable assistance through the provision of food to those in need, but what’s impressive to note is that 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 on the Gold Coast and we are proud that over the past two years here in Newcastle, our support has helped OzHarvest deliver 21 programs to 585 participants. We also recruit Greater Bank employees as volunteers to help coordinate the sessions.
“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.”
Greater Bank Card Services Reconciliation Officer, Vim Hawtin, will volunteer at Wednesday’s session along with two OzHarvest volunteers.
The NEST program currently operates in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Sydney and regional locations in QLD and NSW.
For more information on the program visit https://www.ozharvest.org/what-we-do/nest-nutrition-education/