Changing lives through nutrition: Feel Good Food Packs
When I first met Amber, she came across as a quiet, somewhat shy young lady. Little did I know that this is a girl with a fire in her belly and big dreams in her heart!
At the age of 24, Amber has already started her own business and founded a non-profit organisation that combines her passion for nutrition and supporting those who are experiencing homelessness and hardship. I had a chat to her about how she chooses to make a difference to the world.
What is Feel Good Food Packs all about?
Feel Good Food Packs started with a goal to help people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage to meet their nutritional needs. We distribute packs filled with nutritious food to people who would otherwise struggle to access this kind of food.
The pack was designed with rough sleepers in mind - that is, people who don’t have accommodation and are forced to sleep on the streets - because one of our core beliefs is that healthy food should be accessible to everyone. I didn’t want a person to have to need cooking equipment or even cutlery to be able to eat the food we provide.
What inspired you to start making a difference in the world?
I’ve always believed that a healthy diet should be achievable, which is why I run a business that teaches people how to make healthy eating simple and accessible. One day it occurred to me that for some people, the barrier to a healthy diet isn’t information - it’s the food itself. The fact that some people don’t know what food they will eat tomorrow or where it will come from is really confronting and frankly, unacceptable.
There are wonderful organisations in Australia who are addressing this issue in a great way and I wanted to add to their work with a pack that was designed to supplement meals. Speaking to people on the streets, I realised that whilst there are food vans and food banks available, sometimes people don’t manage to get to the vans in time or they get hungry in between meals. The packs are designed to fit in bags and pockets and keep people sustained in the meantime with high quality, nutrient-dense food.
The fact that some people don’t know what food they will eat tomorrow or where it will come from is really confronting and frankly, unacceptable.
What do you think is the most common misconception people have about someone experiencing homelessness?
I think a lot of people believe that if you’re homeless, you should take what you can get, particularly when it comes to food. People experiencing homelessness or disadvantage are no different to anyone else - they have their own needs and preferences just like we all do.
The old belief that “beggars can’t be choosers” is probably more ingrained in our society than we realise. At Feel Good Food Packs, we place a big emphasis on treating everyone we meet as an individual and finding out exactly what they want and we try to give them as many options as we can, rather than telling them what we think they need!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own non-profit or charity?
Get really clear on the problem that you want to solve, then find other organisations that are working to solve the same, or a similar, issue. Work with them for as long as possible and get a really solid understanding of the issue at hand, what is currently being done and what has already been tried.
It’s easy to think that you have the perfect solution for an issue, but the reality of the situation could be very different, so my best advice would be to jump in as an observer and soak up as much information as possible before starting your own organisation. It might even be that you can join an existing organisation and help them to achieve a shared goal, rather than starting your own separate non-profit.
What's the next step for Feel Good Food Packs?
We have started to provide workshops to help people to learn basic cooking skills, nutrition information and food budgeting. Without a doubt, food relief is needed and we’ll continue to provide food packs, but teaching people how to meet their own nutritional needs is a way for us to have a greater long term impact and help people to maximise their nutrition with often limited resources.
What can I do to help Feel Good Food Packs?
If you’d like to support us with a donation, you can purchase our fundraising recipe ebook at our website, or contact us to donate food items.
(images provided by Feel Good Food Packs)