STUDENTS at Chaffey Secondary College have teamed up with Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Community Council, creating The Pantry Project 2022 to encourage the community to donate non-expired, unopened food.
Roza Taz, 16, who as part of the Student Representative Council (SRC) created the initative with teacher Contessa O’Connor, said that she wants everyone in the wider community to see what they can donate.
We want all of our Chaffey Community to clean out their pantries and any food that is not expired and is not open that you probably won’t eat or you just want to donate you bring to the school and there are boxes where you bring canned goods and any food that you want to donate to SMEC,” Roza said.
“With some research, we found that SMECC have been struggling lately with demand in supply during COVID times. I think it’s the perfect time to launch this project and help our families in need.”Roza said an interesting part of the work has been figuring out how “to get through to people emotionally” and how to help a diverse student body understand that “the people we talk about not having food might be in their class and they might not even know”.
SRC president Dinusha Perera Morawaka, said it felt good to know they are “helping those in need and those who need food”.
SMECC Food Hub coordinator Mitchell Rayson said the students work was “inspiring” and he hoped people took the time to take a look in their pantry.
“Food waste is not just a major issue in this community but everywhere,” Mr Rayson said.
“Food waste can be right under your nose and having students and their communities go through their pantries and find canned food that otherwise would have been thrown out is a great achievement.”
Ms O’Connor applauded the students’ “great” attitude and work ethic in regards to the project.
“We’ve made up flyers and the kids wanted to stand out the front of school and give them to passing people. They have been so enthusiastic,” she said. “They’ve really connected with the community. This whole project has helped take (the students) away from worrying about what is happening in their everyday lives and takes them into community awareness.”
The SRC will be collecting food until Friday September 16 and are inviting community members to donate non-expired, unopened food. Goods can be dropped off at Chaffey Secondary College on Deakin Avenue.