While it might seem simple, donating a warm dinner made with care to a Ballarat resident going without could be the perfect Christmas gift.
The new ‘Pay It Forward Ballarat’ charity launches on Friday, with residents able to buy a meal for someone else online, or drop into the Country Casseroles store.
Donations can be made at payitforwardballarat.com.au from tomorrow night.
For every nine meals paid forward, Country Casseroles will donate the tenth meal, while local suppliers Sinclair Meats and Wilsons Fruit and Vegetables also provide the raw materials for even more meals.
Launched by store owners Ian Tantau and Trish Tantau, having donated meals to both Ballarat’s Soup Bus and the Salvation Army for years, encouraging the whole community to help our hungry seemed ideal.
While everyone else is away on holidays, or having a nice Christmas lunch, maybe before then Ballarat can think about what we can do for other people to make Christmas a little bit easier.Ian Tantau, Pay It Forward Ballarat creator
“People don’t have to come into our store to do this, but they can come in and pay it forward. When nine meals have been paid for, we’ll supply a free one,” he said.
“People can make an individual purchase – like a cheesecake which will be shipped to the Salvos or Soup Bus – or they can pick a monetary value for one meal to or feed a whole family.”
Salvation Army Ballarat Doorways team leader John Clonan said need had been “consistent” from clients, and they “rarely had a vacant appointment” for people seeking food assistance in Ballarat.
“As a leading welfare agency, we have grocery box supermarket where we collect food, but we don’t have a whole lot of protein available. It’s more fresh and staple foods, like rice and pasta sauces,” he said.
“It will be able to help us give a little bit more to people, rather than give people just basic food, it will make them feel a little bit dignified and respected.
“This will fill a gap … and particularly for those who don’t have culinary skills, it will be a good, healthy meal.”
Soup Bus food coordinator Lorraine Gittings said after being supported by the business for eight years, “it will actually give us more Country Casseroles to hand out”, with the frozen meals being a good choice to tide people over from Friday to Saturday when the bus isn’t available.
“They’re nutritional meals, and because a lot of our clients have compromised immune systems from the way they have to live, it’s just a bonus for us to be able to give them good meals,” she said.
“The support we’ve been given by businesses in Ballarat, and now with Pay It Forward, it’s just magic.”
Pay It Forward has been sponsored by RSM Accounting, Wilsons Fruit and Vegetables, Hocking Stuart, Sinclair Meats, Gasoline Media, 3BA, Channel Nine and The Courier.
“We hope we’ll be able to get a bit of food in the bank for Christmas and the Christmas holidays,” Mr Tantau said.