Corporate staff get cooking for charity Page Image Image CaptionA department FareShare volunteer learning how to use the sealing machine. Page ContentDuring National Volunteers’ Week, 12 enthusiastic Department of Education staff swapped the office for the kitchen in support of local charity FareShare.FareShare is a Brisbane-based, not-for-profit organisation. Using surplus food donated by supermarkets, farmers and food businesses, they cook and pack nutritious meals for local groups in need. The group had the opportunity to prepare, cook and pack 4,351 meals in just 7 hours. These will now be distributed across the South East Queensland region in partnership with FoodBank Queensland Ltd. Emily Dowling-Mentz, Program Coordinator at FareShare said the operation relies on an army of dedicated volunteers.“At FareShare we have up to 400 volunteers each week and corporate support is a huge help in our work,” Ms Dowling-Mentz said.“Services like ours make a huge difference in the lives of so many Queenslanders doing it tough. “Our healthy, cooked meals are both practical and life-saving in some instances, but can also be a source of hope for someone experiencing need,” she said.The FareShare industrial kitchen is the size of a basketball court and produces an average of 6,000 meals per week. As well as feeding thousands of Queenslanders, the organisation saves tonnes of surplus meat and vegetables, which would otherwise go to waste. Departmental staff member and volunteer Kate Derbyshire said the opportunity to participate in a corporate volunteering program was rewarding.“Chef James from FareShare had us doing everything from chopping kilos of celery and topping snow peas to cooking a chicken curry and packing thousands of servings of beef casserole,” Kate said.Fellow volunteer Tegan Action added: “Volunteering at FareShare was a heart-warming experience. It made us grateful for what we have and also felt like we had really made a difference for those in need.” FareShare’s Brisbane kitchen has been operating since October 2018 and hopes to cook a massive 1.2 million meals in its first year. Volunteers are always welcome and getting involved is a fun and practical way to make a tangible difference in someone else’s life while also reducing food waste. For more information, visit the FareShare website.