During last year's COVID-19 lockdown in the heart of Sydney city, our HopeStreet Inner City and Women's Centre teams recognised three key needs in the communities we work with.
Food security, digital literacy and social connection became the core objectives of a program funded by a COVID-19 grant from the City of Sydney.
"As part of the program we provided 33 local households with electronic tablets and signed them up to meal kit provider, HelloFresh, for a ten-week period at a subsidised amount", said Cherry Johnson, Community Development Coordinator, HopeStreet Inner City.
Ingredients and instructions for four meals, as selected by the participants from the online app, were delivered weekly to their homes.
"We noticed that some people within the communities we work do not have the same access to technology as the average household. Part of the program was providing tablets and training on how to use the technology, including the HelloFresh app that is used to order the meal kits,” said Cherry.
“Due to COVID-19, there was no longer access to the free or low-cost food that is usually available to our clients. Other local food rescue delivery partners had completely stopped.”
The program also addressed concern around accessing food safely; with contact-less delivery people could stay home.
HopeStreet teams were able to pilot meal kits as a tangible way to improve people’s cooking skills, knowledge of nutrition, and healthy eating, with promising results.
“Participant feedback indicates this was one of the program’s strengths – people feeling like their nutrition and cooking skills improved,” said Cherry.
“I loved it. It was so easy, I didn’t have to think about what to make or how to make it. It actually helped,” said one parent with teenage children.