Helen is the Young Mums Program Co-ordinator at the Living and Learning Family Centre in Henderson and every week, she picks up fresh produce, meat, bread, milk, eggs and other goodies from Fair Food and brings it back for the Young Mums program.

It’s kai time so together, the mums prepare lunch, learn budget cooking recipes and tips, and then the rest of the fresh food is divided up between them to take home to their families.

“When the food arrives, we look at what we’ve received and then we think of recipes to make, or we might look at what we can afford to buy, to bulk out the food to last a week. It teaches cooking skills and budgeting skills” says Helen.

She pulls out recipe books with simple, tasty recipes they’ve collected over the decade including a few from the trusty Edmonds cookbook. Helen’s got hundreds of photos of the delicious meals they’ve made in the kitchen.

“Our mums come three days a week for 20 weeks. We have childcare facilities on-site so it means our mums can spend quality time for themselves”. An early childhood centre is at the heart of every Living and Learning Family Centre with education for both wāhine and tamariki to set them up for success. It’s a warm, welcoming environment, abuzz with conversation. HealthWest have just left as social workers arrive from E Tipu E Rea Whanau Services because the Young Mums program is also about connection; knowing who in the community they can reach out to when in need.

“I’ve kept in touch with so many of the mums who have completed the programme. I hold their stories in here” as Helen puts her palm on her chest. “It’s so rewarding to see them flourish. Some have gone on to study early childhood education which has led to employment within our Centre”.

Apart from a regular supply of fresh food, Helen would love a steady supply of nappies, toiletries and period products for all whanau at the Living and Learning Centre.

“Do you know anyone who can provide us with free period underwear? They are awesome! Sustainable, cost-effective because we need to educate our women on what’s out there. Traditional period products are expensive”.

With over twenty years experience in youth work, Helen still has the energy of a young’n herself! She’s passionate, bubbly, talks fast and oozes a love for her community.

“We’ve been receiving food from Fair Food since our program began and we remain so incredibly grateful. Fair Food is part of helping our women succeed”.

Fair Food is super excited to be a recipient of the latest Local Heroes soup range with 20c from every pack donated back to us!

This year, Fair Food along with fellow food rescue organisation Satisfy Food Rescue, are the two collaboration partners for the Local Heroes soup range. The soup flavours have been developed and matched to each charity with proceeds from every pack sold going back to their respective organisations. Naked Locals are donating up to $20,000 to each organisation which will be a huge boost for Fair Food’s mahi.

“The food we re-distribute reaches thousands of homes every week and yet no-one would know who we are because Fair Food is essentially the ‘charity behind the charities’. This collaboration with Naked Locals means we can raise awareness of who we are, so more people will know more about our mission, food rescue and why this is an awesome cause to support” said Melissa Crawford, Board Chair – Fair Food Charitable Trust.

So, if you’re looking for a heart-warming soup, you will be able to find the Naked Locals soup in a supermarket near you very soon! Look out for the Pumpkin and Kumara Soup with the Fair Food logo on it! Delicious soup with a donation – winning!

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