Published On: 19 July 2023Categories: Stories

Free fresh fruit and vegetables from Loaves and Fishes Tasmania is creating connections and meeting a desperate need among families visiting the Muylatina Child and Family Learning Centre serving Launceston’s northern suburbs.

Family centre leader Trudi Cross said: “Everyone can afford a $1 packet of pasta, but not everyone can afford a lettuce.

“We are so grateful for our collaboration with Loaves and Fishes for providing a service we are unable to on our own.

“The first delivery of avocados, lettuce, onions, capsicums and potatoes was well received. There is a lot of excitement about getting fresh produce.

“We keep hearing that food security is a big issue for families in Launceston’s northern suburbs, a situation that has worsened in the past six months due to cost-of-living pressures.”

Dozens of clients per day

Muylatina (pronounced moy-lah-tee-nah), which means “embrace” in the palawa Aboriginal language, is located next to East Tamar Primary School in Mayfield, and serves a catchment of 1300 children from 0-5 and their families living in Newnham, Mowbray, Invermay, Rocherlea, Mayfield and Lilydale.

The learning centre serves about 70 people a day and offers a range of services and programs for disadvantaged families, many from Aboriginal and multicultural backgrounds.

The centre is planning to start cooking classes to help families make the most of the free food.

“The centre has been embraced by local families who don’t have to make an appointment to visit and who can access a range of health, education and welfare services to meet often complex needs,” Trudi said.

‘Food creates connection’

“Food creates another connection point for families who are often socially isolated.

“We also go into the community to assist those families who may have difficulty accessing the centre due to transport or health-related issues.”

Muylatina Child and Family Learning Centre is one of the newest of about 250 local agencies who distribute free food relief in partnership with Loaves and Fishes.

Muylatina is one of several agencies who collect a weekly bulk drop of hundreds of kilograms of fresh produce and cooked meals from the Starting Point Neighbourhood House at Ravenswood.

Loaves and Fishes Tasmania general manager Aaron Kropf said the organisation had a long history of serving dozens of agencies in and around Launceston.

“Every week, we help thousands of Tasmanians doing it tough in the Launceston area in partnership with awesome local partners such as Muylatina.

“These are the agencies who ensure food gets to those who need it most, while also identifying and meeting the many other needs people may have.

“They are the real heroes of this partnership.”

More Stories like this…