Sometimes it’s the small things that make the big things happen. If a set of likeminded people that believe in the same things can come together, there is no reason why change can’t be possible. When you travel, you can stumble across some amazing human beings doing some special things within their communities. For me, that was founder of ‘Eat Up’, a 28-year old called Lyndon.
Shepparton-born Lyndon Galea is an ideas man. When he isn’t studying entrepreneurship in Melbourne, he’s busy working part-time at OzHarvest and helping with Australia’s hunger pains. Food Bank Victoria [Australia] reported that 1 in 10 Victorians don’t know where their next meal is coming from. After reading a Shepparton-based newspaper article about local school kids going regularly without lunch, he decided press play and do something about it. The idea was simple:
“If these kids don’t have lunch, well, we can make them lunch” said Lyndon.
So, in 2013, Eat Up was born.
Meeting with the school in Shepparton, Lyndon asked how he could help and whether making sandwiches for the children going without would be an answer. Volunteering with food rescue agency, OzHarvest, Lyndon saw first-hand how thousands of kilos of delicious food was being thrown out. His brain began ticking over, working on a way to make Eat Up a sustainable business model. Eat Up makes use of unwanted bread, fruit, recess snacks, cheese, and as it’s Australia, Vegemite, collected by OzHarvest and Food Bank Victoria, all of which is free of charge!
Partnering with various trades programmes, now it’s the turn of apprentice chefs to prepare the sandwiches on a much larger scale – around 300 sandwiches every half an hour. Then, with the help of OzHarvest (in Melbourne) again, the sandwiches and snacks are loaded up into crates, picked up and then directly delivered to the schools every fortnight.
[Photo Credit: Lyndon Galea]
The sandwiches are stored at the school and frozen until they’re needed. This means the school has some control on how many sandwiches they have, and let’s Eat Up scale their operation. The best thing of all is that the food is free, the preparation is free and delivery is free! It really is an impressive, ingenious idea – but that’s Lyndon.
It’s then left to the very capable teachers to directly hand out the sandwiches. This was important to Lyndon and the schools because it’s the teachers that really know the kids; they have the most understanding and the right skills to help without embarrassing the children. Eat Up doesn’t try to force their business model onto schools and this genuine gentle touch works so well.
Since starting in his hometown of Shepparton in 2013, Eat Up has grown to deliver over 14,000 meals across 21 schools (4 in Shepparton, 10 in Melbourne and 7 in Bendigo) to children in need of a school lunch. If a child has has forgotten to bring his or her lunch to school, there’s a sandwich for that too because no kid should go hungry.
“I probably never appreciated how valued and how big of a difference one sandwich can make to someone. And how something that can seem fairly simple can flow on”
It’s never the change you want that changes everything. Lyndon turned that into a positive and from its humble grassroots beginnings, there’s no stopping how many school kids Eat Up can reach nationally. And I cannot wait to hear all about it. It really is the small things that make the big things happen.