Good Neighbour Awards Good Neighbour Spotlight

Sharing More than Meals

Written by Caroline Barrett

This past Neighbour Day, Nextdoor asked neighbours across Australia to honour the neighbours who go above and beyond to better their communities. In this Neighbour Day Award Spotlight we’ll meet Robert Peachey from Heathcote, Victoria.

In a small town of 4,000 people in Heathcote, Victoria, lies a member of the community with a huge desire to help those in need. Robert Peachey, President of Foodshare Heathcote was nominated for Nextdoor’s Neighbour Day Award by Lyn, who owns and operates the building where Foodshare Heathcote resides, and has seen the organisation grow from the very beginning. “If you ring Rob with a problem he will go try to fix it. I don’t know how he does it! He deserves a medal,” said Lyn.

Robert started Foodshare Heathcote two years ago and what started as a small group of volunteers creating Christmas hampers for people in need, is now an organisation that saves 8,000 kilograms of unwanted food a week within the Heathcote and Axedale communities, and prepares it to feed thousands of people free of charge.

Operated entirely by volunteers, Foodshare relies on donations and grants from individuals, businesses and the government, which is one of Robert’s main jobs as President. In addition to fundraising, Robert organises all of his volunteer workers and selflessly works 6 days a week with them to ensure people can get a warm meal on the weekend. Volunteer workers take a large van to all the major supermarkets and rescue the food that would otherwise go to landfill, saving everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to pre-cooked meals, bread and other grocery items.

To help raise funds for the costs of Foodshare, Robert opened the Opportunity Shop, which sells secondhand clothing, books, furniture, homewares and appliances including handcrafted gifts and antiques. Foodshare has also become a safe space for people to meet, talk to each other, and find someone to listen and lend a hand. Robert said when he first started he thought they, “just rescued food, and had no idea the social and personal involvement” that would form. Foodshare now offers a Corner Cafe, which is described on Foodshare’s website as “the ice-breaker” and “first point of call for anyone needing support.”

In addition to Foodshare, Robert selflessly supports his community by always attending council meetings and attempting to help Heathcote’s community in any way he can. Growing up in a large family with a strong faith, community has always been a huge part of Robert’s life. “It starts with your attitude, if you’ve got a great attitude it will all come back to you. We have to rely on each other, and we have to be aware and care for each other,” said Robert.

Robert and Foodshare strive to ensure that none of the Heathcote community’s resources is wasted and they continuously empower the community to work together for everyone’s benefit. We’re proud to honour Robert with the Neighbour Day Award for his commitment to the Heathecote community and beyond.

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