News & Events

A feast for families emerging from family violence

December 11, 2018

Imagine having fled violence with only a bag on your pack, three hungry children by your side and no money to buy food?

That is the immediate reality for many families coming into Emerge’s refuge and crisis housing.

Thanks to the efforts of local churches and individuals, however, empty tummies are soon filled with warming, nutritious meals, and well-stocked pantry packs are handed out to each woman when she arrives and leaves.

The pack is crammed with breakfast options, milk, tins of baked beans, chickpeas, and tomatoes and other basic but important foods, tea and coffee, tofu, pasta, rice, as well as shampoo and conditioner.

Jessica, Emerge’s Manager of Integrated Family Services, says the pantry packs are a lifesaving start for the many women and children.

“The packs provide the essentials, and to watch the children’s eyes open when the pack is emptied is always emotional,” Jess said.

The packs – together with the nourishing meals that FareShare provides – are all part of the homely feel that Emerge offers to families who have fled family violence.

Making meals with other families living in Emerge’s accommodation is one of the highlights for many of the women. While the freezer in the communal kitchen is always filled with FareShare meals, the opportunity to use the contents of the pantry packs as well as food vouchers which are donated is quickly seized.

“Sharing meals is a way for the children to connect with each other and the mums and other women staying with us to swap stories, recipes and be surrounded by others who have had similar experiences.

Jessica and her team are always pleased to receive food vouchers from individuals and companies.

“The pantry packs are a brilliant first step and are a magnificent contribution from local churches,” she said.

“What we are also always looking for are vouchers which allow women to buy their own food. Given so many families come from culturally diverse backgrounds, vouchers enable them to buy foods they love and which they are used to cooking and eating,” Jessica said.

Women are also given vouchers when they leave for their new homes: knowing when their next meal is coming from is a huge relief and always appreciated.

Vouchers can be posted to:

Emerge Women & Children’s Support Network
c/- Beth Wallis
GPO Box 420
Melbourne VIC 3001

Emerge has been keeping families safe for more than 40 years and is the only specialised family violence service in Melbourne’s southern metropolitan area. It provides crisis accommodation, as well as outreach support to women and children still living at home.

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