Compassion the perfect ingredient

Rostrevor students Lachlan, Alessio and Jacob cook for a cause (The Southern Cross/Henry Critchley)

They may be just 12 years old, but these compassionate cooks are stepping up to the hot plate to help tackle poverty and disadvantage. Source: The Southern Cross.

The Year 6 students from Adelaide’s Rostrevor College are part of a growing army of young school chefs who are taking direct action to help those much older than them who are doing it tough.

Rostrevor is among a growing number of schools which have joined up with St Vincent de Paul Society South Australia to cook for its Fred’s Van food service, which provides 40,000 warm and nutritious meals each year from eight sites around metropolitan Adelaide and two in regional SA.

Teacher Michael Monda said in addition to encouraging students to think about people living in poverty and taking direct steps to help, the initiative taught boys practical cooking skills they could take into their teenage and adult years.

He said in a society where young people often expected continuous praise and instant feedback, it was good to help someone who couldn’t thank them in return.

“It’s a simple, selfless act that can really make a difference to the lives of others,” Mr Monda said.

In a recent cook up at the school, 17 boys prepared more than 10kg of lasagne and a similar quantity of fried rice which were ferried by Vinnies SA to a Fred’s Van at Elizabeth, where demands for food are increasing, especially over winter.

Alessio Fantasia said the initiative had taught him that poverty and disadvantage could happen to anyone.

“I know I’m going to get a good meal every night and, until recently, I didn’t realise that other people sometimes might not get to eat for a couple of days,” Alessio said.

“Children can’t give money to the homeless, but we can cook and we can give them clothes and toys and other things they may need.”


Compassion the perfect ingredient (The Southern Cross)

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