Lentil As Anything wants to give back to the community that rescued it from administration by delivering 25,000 free meals to people in need

Lentil As Anything
  • Lentil As Anything has teamed up with FareShare to deliver more than 25,000 meals to people in need this holiday season.
  • It’s a way to give back to the community that saved Lentil As Anything from going into administration this year.
  • “We wanted to give back to the community that saved us by supporting those unable to place a meal on the table,” Lentil As Anything CEO Shanaka Fernando said.
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Lentil As Anything has teamed up with FareShare to deliver more than 25,000 meals to Australians in need during the holiday season.

It’s designed to give back to the community that supported Lentil As Anything when it was on the brink of going into administration earlier this year.

Lentil As Anything is a non-profit organisation that operates a chain of ‘pay-as-you-feel’ restaurants and serves up to 2000 people a week through its food relief program. In September, the organisation launched a Go Fund Me page to raise funds as it struggled to operate during the coronavirus pandemic. In four days it surpassed its initial goal of $150,000 and managed to reach a total of $373,985.

“The economic uncertainty of COVID-19 placed Lentil As Anything on the brink of survival before thousands of everyday Australians stepped in donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to save our doors from closing,” Lentil As Anything CEO Shanaka Fernando said in a statement. “The response was unlike anything we had anticipated.”

Under the partnership with FareShare, free meals will be given across all capital cities and some regional towns in Australia, including Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Central Coast, Cairns and Townsville. The organisations are also aiming to raise $30,000 by the end of December to support the mission.

“Ahead of the holiday season, we wanted to give back to the community that saved us by supporting those unable to place a meal on the table,” Fernando added. “We’ve seen first-hand the impact of economic hardship faced by many Australians this year with the demand for our community outreach programs significantly increasing since the pandemic took hold.

“In Victoria especially, we’ve seen international students, people stood down from full-time employment and families struggling to make ends meet turn to our restaurants and programs for a hearty meal. Often it is the first time they’re ever needing to seek external support.”

Since March, Australians have donated more than $1 million on GoFundMe to provide meals to those who are facing food insecurity. According to the Food Bank report released in October, the number of people experiencing food insecurity has doubled from 15% in 2019 to 31% in 2020. And two new groups are experiencing food insecurity for the first time: international students and casual workers.

“With more people experiencing food poverty for the first time, FareShare has cooked more than three million meals in its Melbourne and Brisbane kitchens since the pandemic started and extended support to countless new food relief efforts in the community,” FareShare CEO Marcus Godinho said in a statement.

FareShare rescues surplus food and uses it to cook free and nutritious meals for people who need it.

“Out-of-work hospitality workers have been re-employed by FareShare through the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria scheme and early in the pandemic a team of chefs from the ALH hospitality group was redeployed and funded by Woolworths after FareShare’s volunteer kitchen staff were temporarily suspended to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” Godinho added.

“Many people are doing it tough, but together we can make a difference and provide some hope and joy and hearty meals for Aussies in need.”