Welcome to the Good Human Series, a space where we celebrate the good in humanity by sharing the stories of impact focused individuals making a positive change in the world through their work.
We have made it to the holiday season, everything is looking a little more merry, feeling a little more bright. A time for gathering, for giving, and for really good food. So today we’re serving up a story with all three. We recommend enjoying it with a snack because it’s guaranteed to make you hungry.
Located in Melbourne’s North Fitzroy is Free To Feed, a social enterprise which uses the power of food to support refugees, migrants, and people seeking asylum. The idea being to hone individuals existing skills and stories into meaningful employment, while also creating a space for community and connection. Much like Outland, Free To Feed doesn’t exist to empower those who are vulnerable, it exists to provide the tools needed so people can empower themselves.
Since 2016 Free To Feed has provided over 21.8K hours of paid training to participants and distributed over $545.7K in employment wages to people seeking asylum and refugees. But what’s even more impressive is the program’s outcomes that are more difficult to communicate in numbers, but certainly are just as important. Like the boost in confidence and pride experienced by Free To Feed’s alumni, or the countless life-long connections sparked within the program’s walls.
Though their backgrounds are diverse, the program’s team and participants share a common spirit and resilience. As you’ll read below, this community wasn’t going to let COVID bring them down. They saw the pandemic as an opportunity to help bring food to those in need and spread their reach virtually to the rest of Australia.
As Free To Feed put it, “what better place to celebrate traditions and memories, stories and new experiences than over a feasting table? After all, for every one of us, these things are so often inextricably linked to sharing food and cooking with friends and family.” We couldn’t have said it better.
Today on the Good Humans Series, we chat to Free To Feed founding CEO Loretta Bolotin about the short and long-term, generational impact of Free To Feed, how her background informed what the program is today, and what’s on the horizon this Summer in the Free To Feed kitchens.