The Good Grub Club:                            Sharing food and love

November 12th, 2021The Good Grub Club: Sharing food and love

WE MIGHT be seen as the wellness, spa and foodie capital of Victoria, but behind closed doors many people continue to be supported each week thanks to the efforts of Daylesford's Good Grub Club volunteers and community support.

WE MIGHT be seen as the wellness, spa and foodie capital of Victoria, but behind closed doors many people continue to be supported each week thanks to the efforts of Daylesford’s Good Grub Club volunteers and community support.

The first lockdown 18 months ago highlighted the need for residents to be nurtured, cared for and fed. When jobs were lost, businesses closed and income became limited for many, it was a revamped the Good Grub Club that went from a weekly sit-down meal to a local foodbank ensuring people didn’t go without.
Over that time the Good Grub Club has continued to evolve, it’s back to a three- course sit-down meal on a Thursday, a light meal on a Tuesday and food pickups and deliveries on a Thursday. And now given the region’s numerous tier one Covid exposure sites, the club has become a much-needed food delivery service for many self-isolating.
Supported by FoodBank and Bendigo Food Share, a host of local businesses and organisations including Bakers Delight, Wombat Hill House café, Daylesford Rotary, Coles and Istra Smallgoods, the Good Grub Club has proven itself to be the model of a circular economy, according to volunteer Cathy Walker.
“Through lockdowns, job losses, storms and Covid, we are a smaller version of a major foodbank. This is a group by locals, for locals, supported by locals and this is what a circular economy looks like. It reminds us of the importance of helping one another and at the end of the day no one in our community needs to worry about food and food insecurity,” she said.
“We are all volunteers, from all walks of life coming together with the support of other vital local groups, like the Community Op Shop, to help and support anyone without judgement or bureaucracy. If you ask, you receive.”
Natasha Hall has been one of the volunteers that helped move the club into the Covid phase and while a number of wonderful community members have been involved in that time, Natasha has ensured the volunteers, kitchen, delivery drivers and community support continues.
“We are a local foodbank and we need people to understand that and that we are a registered charity providing food security now for Hepburn Shire,” she said.
“We want to be known as a place to go to connect, to have a chat and to feel connected again after so many months isolated. At the height of the first lockdown we were delivering more than 360 care packages a week. While that number has dropped, we continue to deliver parcels to those that can’t make it into town and we have parcels available for residents to pick up weekly.”
The club has around 15 volunteers. Some have been around since its inception, while others have been giving back for a few months. For Natasha, the hours people volunteer is irrelevant, it’s the simple act that counts.
“We love seeing new volunteers but we don’t ask for hours and hours a week. It might be for an hour on a Monday packing up eggs and veggies or setting up on a Thursday. It’s not about the time but the fact that we are all working to make sure everyone in our community is cared for and has food.
“Although we have been operating all through lockdown, we are certain there are some people that just don’t know we are here and can provide food support. It’s a matter of sharing the information and getting the word out that this is a community group for the community. Providing beautiful healthy food and care packages and providing a place to connect is our focus.”
The Good Grub Club continues to be supported by businesses and individuals and when snap lockdowns occurred, businesses including Splinters Café, Farmers Arms Hotel, Cliffy’s and Hepburn Pavilion Café are among those who have sent food the club’s way so none would be wasted.
The club works closely with Daylesford Primary School, taking excess veggies from the kitchen garden, while Daylesford College students work in the kitchen.
For Natasha, Cathy, the committee members and the volunteers, the Good Grub Club is seen as an important part of the community, underpinning the basic necessities of food and company as its main motivator.
“No-one should ever feel they have to go without food to pay a bill. We are there for you, now and into the future. For a one-off or ongoing support. We are just a phone call away,” Cathy says.

Want to volunteer?
From an hour or two a week, volunteers are welcome and needed. The club would love to expand its offerings and to do that more volunteers would be great. Phone Sue on 0475 430 326.
The Good Grub Club is grateful for all donations.
A great and thoughtful Christmas gift would be to donate on behalf of a family member or friend. The gift giver and recipient will both receive thank you letters from the club. BSB 633 A/C 173 753 609.
Drop in excess food
If you find yourself with excess fruit and veggies, the Good Grub Club will gratefully accept the produce. If you are having a pantry declutter, any unwanted packaged and tin food can be donated at the little hall next door to the Uniting Church in Central Springs Road or the food box at the community garden.

Above, from left, Robyn, Vivienne, Jackie and Rose prepare a roast lunch and take-home meals in the Good Grub Club kitchen

Words & image: Narelle Groenhout

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