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Michael Chong’s cousin, Marcus Godinho, the CEO of FareShare gave an amazing account of the 638 tonnes of food that has been rescued from landfill this year and turned into 1,587,096 nutritious meals that have been distributed through 467 charities. Our visit last Monday was to Australia's largest charity kitchen, FareShare, in Abbotsford. We obtained a real insight into food wastage, food security and the role of community organisations. There is a waiting list for the 600 volunteer positions with FareShare and they also run a volunteering program for schools and corporate groups. Tony Simpson couldn't imagine organising a roster for 600 volunteers after his experience with our Sunday Market roster.
Despite the free food donated and number of volunteers, it still costs $30,000 a week to produce the 20,000 free meals. It's not just for the city, as 30% of the meals go to rural and regional Victoria. It was incredible to hear of the wonderful support Marcus is able to muster for this important task of fighting hunger for those most vulnerable members of our society. Thanks to Michael Chong for organising this memorable event for our Club with his cousin and the people at FareShare.
Michael Chong with Marcus Godinho
Ross Merolli followed the FareShare visit with a scrumptious banquet at the Ha Long Bay Restaurant in Victoria Street, Richmond. Food was fresh and tasty and the owner did all he could to make us feel welcome and to look after us. We were pretty hungry after watching all the food being prepared at FareShare, but we were soon full to the brim and unable to eat all that was provided. It was such great value. I'm sure that all the partners who attended found it a worthwhile evening.
In the last edition of the Bulletin I outlined some of our achievements for this Rotary year. This weekly Bulletin is another success story. Max does a fantastic job, week after week, to get such a quality document produced on time.
We have had lots of members away. A love for winter holidays in warmer destinations is a common feature of our membership. This means that some of the initiatives planned for this year have yet to gain momentum. Three that spring to mind are the expansion of our fund raising with the Aussie Pride badges into the corporate and education sectors; the mentoring project; and the membership ideas that came out of our dinner meeting last July. Our Fundraising Committee is getting together later this month, so there should be some progress with our Aussie Pride expansion in the coming quarter. We do need to increase the size of our Club so that our program is more sustainable during future winter months. The more members we have, the more service projects we can tackle, so the more funding we require.
I always thought we needed a year of funding in reserve in case we lost one of our funding sources. But the typhoon in the Philippines last year, that soaked up our buffer, has shown us that we actually need those funds for the management of our cashflow in the current year. We have reached the point right now where we can't fund our service projects, in the short term. As the market funds and expected revenue from Aussie Pride comes in, we should be able to meet our budget commitments, so we are still okay. Treasurer Kay is very good at juggling!
We do receive a lot of requests for funding during the year that are not covered by our budget that we finalised back in June; particularly from other Rotary Clubs, seeking partners. It makes it easy for me to respond as Club President when we don't have any money, but those with merit are always passed on to our committees for a final decision. Sometimes they can reallocate and reprioritise their planned projects. Our committees are working well this year.
It is going to be another great night next Monday. Past President, Jill Keeffe is our guest speaker, so this should be a really good evening for partners and visitors. Our monthly board meeting follows at 8:30pm. Then Vice President John takes over for the next couple of weeks, while I join our International Team on our Medical Mission to the Philippines. We will be back for the Club meeting on 27th October.
I'm sure you'll have loads of fun with John and Val while we are away!!