In Australian there are many children who set off to school each day without any lunch.

And without food, concentration is compromised. Which means learning is compromised. Which means their future is compromised.

We know that when unemployment increases, food insecurity increases and as families faced job losses during the pandemic, the need for food relief for Australian homes increased by 47% in 2020.

Lyndon Galea founded Eat Up in 2013 after reading about children going to school without lunch in his hometown of Shepparton, Victoria. He promptly made 200 sandwiches with the help of friends and family and distributed them to local schools.

“In 2013 I was living in my hometown of Shepparton and I read a story in the paper about how one in eight local kids were going to school without lunch,” Eat Up founder, Lyndon tells Bounty Parents.

“I quickly enlisted the help of my mum and a couple of mates and started making sandwiches to drop off at these schools. In the seven years since then Eat Up has grown into a fully fledged charity and we now service 500 schools across Victoria, NSW and QLD. We recently hit a major milestone of delivering our one millionth sandwich.”

Lyndon Galea founded Eat Up in 2013 after reading about children going to school without lunch.

Lyndon says his charity organisation was hit hard by the pandemic and they had to quickly find a way to be able to continue feeding hungry children.

“Eat Up operates from the support of three pillars our volunteers, bulk delivery and daily distribution of sandwiches. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, two of these three pillars were knocked down. With remote learning, we were no longer able to feed hungry kids. We had relied on this model since 2013, when we delivered our first sandwich,” he explains.

“Without being able to host volunteer sandwich making events and distribute lunches daily to hungry kids, we had to quickly pivot and find a way to continue supporting families in need. We spoke to schools, teachers and parents to collaboratively find a solution to the unprecedented situation we were facing.”

Lyndon and his team soon discovered that families continued to need food relief and so they created Eat Up Emergency Food Boxes to support them during lockdown.

“Containing 10kg worth of fresh fruit, vegetables and pantry staples, we delivered our first round of boxes at the end of April. We continued using schools as distribution centres, with parents coming in to pick up the boxes, or in some cases, generous teachers dropping them off to families in need,” he says.

“Since then, we have delivered over 20,000 Emergency Food Boxes across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.”

 

“COVID-19 has impacted Eat Up in an immense, yet positive, way,” says Lyndon. “Historically, we have had a gap in providing support over non-school periods, as schools closed down we would lose our distribution points. The Christmas and summer break used to stop us from feeding hungry kids for weeks on end. Moving forward, we will continue to provide these Food Boxes and will be able to better support families over school holidays and any remote learning periods.

“Growth is always bittersweet at Eat Up, as the bigger we get the more we see the real size of the issue of food insecurity here in Australia. But 2020 opened our minds to the power of changing your outlook. We have been continually problem solving across the country as restrictions have changed and we feel more confident with our team, our community and our connections than ever before.”

Lyndon Galea is the founder of Eat Up, a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation fighting food insecurity. For more information and to learn how you can get involved, visit their website