“It’s not just about the food. It is knowing that there is someone out there who cares about ME, who wants to know that I am OK, that is looking out for ME”
This is the cornerstone of what we do at C Care, so aptly said by one of our recipients.
Our early-intervention, person-centred approach is designed to encourage participation in community life, remove barriers to autonomy, and help people attain the tools they need to lead independent and engaged lives. Founded on our three-pronged model of:
- poverty alleviation,
- and promotion of independence,
C Care’s programs adopt a ‘hand-up’ rather than ‘handout’ approach which help marginalised sections of the community ﬁnd an engaged and active space within society.
Our visits, to target social isolation and ensure that lonely, (generally elderly) individuals are looked after, take three forms:
1: a nutritous cooked meal
2. a pantry pack of dried goods
3. a Shabbat/bread pack
At C Care we want to ensure that not only do our recipients feel loved, cared for and special, but that our volunteers who dedicate hours of their time week of the year are also feeling rewarded and fulfilled.
Who receives help
C Care clients are referred by other organisations or individuals. Anyone who is going through personal difficulty can approach C Care, via our referral form .
C Care will then assess the situation, based on the individual’s needs and what C Care can offer. We work closely with other organisations so that we can refer individuals and families to appropriate services if required.
Programs and Services
C Care provides help in the form of social visits and food parcels.
C Care does not provide financial assistance but can refer individuals to the relevant services to assist with this.
C CARE VISITS
Volunteers prepare, package, and deliver fresh and nutritious meals to individuals throughout Melbourne experiencing acute disadvantage. A core element of the program involves quality time spent together between volunteers and meal recipients, who forge connections over time. Volunteers are trained to informally monitor the general health and wellbeing of recipients and engage in open conversation.
Individuals eligible for Meal Visits are generally acutely disadvantaged or face long-term barriers to independent food preparation including mental illness, seniority, infirmity, or recent migration.
Our clients, many of whom live in Commission Housing Units in isolating conditions, have told us that the weekly visit by a volunteer eases the burden of poverty and marginalization. They report increased sense of community belonging and sense of purpose in their lives.
The meal recipients face countless barriers to social participation, employment, and health and wellbeing, including linguistic and cultural differences, educational backgrounds, familial circumstances, poverty, and ill-health.
Our volunteers ensure that each visit, and every meal delivered, is accompanied by qualitative time spent together with the recipient, providing moral support and encouragement, providing referrals to support systems where needed, and inquiring about their health and wellbeing.
SUNDAY COOK OFF
Almost every Sunday of the year (except if a Jewish Holiday is on the Sunday), C Care volunteers from all walks of life gather in the kitchen to prepare and package hundreds of meals for our recipients.
Cooking and packing shifts run from 9am till 330pm. The delivery shift then begins at 330/4pm.
From 9am the kitchen is abuzz with chatter and laughter. Age, beliefs, social status are irrelevant – everyone is united in a common goal – to make delicious, nutritious food for people in need.
Volunteers come to the kitchen when it suits them, with many committing to the same shift every week. Our volunteers love the C Care kitchen, love making a difference with us, and adding CARE to the meals that we provide.
PANTRY PACK PROGRAM
In the Pantry Pack Program, volunteers pack and deliver a large box of dried goods and pantry essentials to seniors experiencing poverty and isolation, each month. C Care requests feedback from recipients to understand the usefulness of the different items in the box. We use this input to adapt and update the boxes.
The Pantry Pack includes a multilingual ‘Eating for Life’ leaﬂet explaining how to produce nutritious, cost-eﬃcient meals using the ingredients of the month. The leaﬂet also contains timely and easy-to-read health-tips (eg. strategies for staying hydrated during summer months), resources (eg. transport to inexpensive fresh food markets) and referrals (eg. local Health Centre).
This project is designed to help seniors independently advance their well-being and nutrition, by veering away from the provision of a ready-made meal and opting for life-style change through empowerment and education.
Individuals eligible for the Pantry-Pack program can cook independently but simply do not have the resources or knowledge about nutrition and selfcare to do so in a healthy way. Volunteers support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of the seniors by engaging in conversation and forging social connections. The regular visitation ensures that vulnerable seniors are living in a safe environment, particularly crucial for ageing people living on their own or lacking adequate external support.
C Care volunteers deliver weekly packs to disadvantaged and isolated people throughout Melbourne. These packs contain a variety of goods – usually a loaf of bread, fresh fruit and vegetables and other items such as dips or falafel.
For those individuals who would like to, C Care also includes “soup in a jar” and “challah in a bag”. The soup jar contains all the dry ingredients for preparing a nutritious soup and the challah bag contains the precisely measured ingredients of a Challah. Simple cooking and backing instructions are attached to the soup jar and challah bag. The recipient can then independently produce the soup and fresh challah – on their own or together with a volunteer.
In the words of a recipient: “Don’t bring me any more ready-made Challah. This tastes better… and it’s my work!”.
The pack also contains free local Jewish publications (e.g. the Melbourne Jewish Report) which aim to connect individuals with events and initiatives taking place in the community. This project is designed to increase recipient autonomy and self-esteem, provide opportunities for engagement with volunteers, and facilitate connection with the broader Jewish community.
All individuals participating in C Care programs and services are eligible for participation in this program.
This program is made possible by the generosity of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation who make their historic Sukkah available for the storage and packing of these and other care packs for people in the community who are in need.
Feedback & Testimonials
We’ve had heaps of fun!! Will definitely come back, with extra helping hands
M and I always joke that L & S kidnap us as they never let us leave. We usually leave them till last because we spend the most time there. They show us videos online and whip out photo albums etc. They are such a lovely couple.
S is extremely bright and is interested in a variety of different topics and hobbies. The personal visit is critical to him, far more so than the food.
P is an absolutely fantastic lady She is very sickly has heart and back issues. She is not very mobile at all. However always has a smile and time to sit and chat.
We are new to the country ourselves – visiting with your recipients made us realise just how lucky we are! Such warm, friendly faces greeted us at each door. One particular lady was so excited to receive a visit on a public holiday and thanked us for “working on new years’ day”. Each and every item she was given was greeted with such joy and enthusiasm.
I love going to my local shops because I now “bump into” some of the recipients. They are so excited to see a familiar face. I have connected with one specific lady – and even though we don’t speak the same language we have formed such a lovely friendship.
All of our recipients are special and have amazing unique stories to share: