Introducing Community Choice, the Foundation’s latest initiative

We’ve got a super exciting announcement – and we’re hoping you can help us out!

We’ve just launched our new and improved food voucher system (hooray!) and we’re looking to get some awesome local socially-minded hospitality venues on board to help us expand the initiative.

The initiative, called Community Choice, brings together food relief and local hospitality venues to address food insecurity and bring the dignity of choice to people across our region.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we designed the concept in collaboration with the Donkey Wheel Foundation to help support the local hospitality industry in their pandemic recovery while also strengthening the existing food relief network in our region.

The Give Where You Live Foundation proposed the idea to the Andrews State Government at the commencement of the pandemic as a way to support both the food relief sector and the hospitality industry in their pandemic recovery.

After securing funding from the Department of Premier and Cabinet with advocacy support from Christine Couzens MP, the Foundation set to work re-imagining their existing voucher program to create a program easier for both the organisations to implement and the end-users to access. 

Both the food relief and hospitality industries have been hit pretty hard over the course of the pandemic. As more people found themselves un or under-employed and/or reliant on government support, the need for reliable, safe, nutritious, and accessible food relief increased.

Similarly, with the lockdowns forcing local cafes and restaurants to shut (some permanently) the hospitality industry needed support.

With the implementation of this new initiative, the vouchers will give a boost of $ 66,000 to the local hospitality and food relief sectors between January and June 2021! How cool is that?

Plus, our food relief network will become more accessible and give people accessing food relief real choice about what type of food they’d like to access. Choices like whether they want to use their voucher for groceries, or to support a local restaurant, or take their children out for a birthday treat.

Choice is something we all take for granted says the Foundation’s Head of Impact, Kerry Farrance. “Every day we take for granted that we can go to whatever shop we like, to purchase whatever foods we like or go to whatever restaurants we like. It’s something we don’t even think about. In essence, this initiative is about giving people experiencing food insecurity a bit of the power of choice back.”

Community Choice forms part of the Give Where You Live Foundation’s Feed Geelong initiative which works to address food insecurity throughout the G21 region and is a reimagining of the Foundation’s existing voucher program, which was established in response to the collapse of Pyramid Building Society in 1990.

So how does it work?

This all works by combining the resources of the hospitality industry to bolster our food relief sector by providing people experiencing food insecurity with vouchers (funded by the Foundation) for participating hospitality outlets.

To create and deliver the initiative, the Give Where You Live Foundation has been working closely with the government, other not-for-profit organisations, food relief providers, and local hospitality venues.

The Foundation covers the cost of the vouchers which are then distributed through several local community agencies. 

These agencies will then distribute the vouchers to people experiencing food insecurity so they can access food from local food relief organisations, in addition to the local cafes and restaurants across the region that are already participating in the initiative.

So, how can you help?

We’re trying to inspire a movement of socially-conscious businesses, and we want as many local businesses to join this movement as possible.

Specifically, we’re looking for more cafés and restaurants to partner with us! Are you in the hospitality industry? Get in contact with us and learn how you can make a small change (but a huge impact) in your community today!