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Pop-up kitchen serves success

Following the success of the MacKillop Café Project in 2018, students at MacKillop Education Geelong went mobile and established a pop-up soup kitchen to give back to the community.

This year, a 2019 graduate of our MacKillop Education School received the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) Achievement Award for Foundation Personal Development Skills for her involvement and outstanding contribution to the school’s Pop-up Soup Kitchen Project.

Presented by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), the VCAL Achievement Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of young people that embody living examples of excellence in applied learning through projects of value to the local community or demonstrated personal growth in leadership.

The inspiration for the pop-up soup kitchen came from an excursion to the Bellarine Living and Learning Centre, where students had the opportunity to listen and hear stories from volunteers about supporting the homeless and those in need of food.

The project was designed by teachers and staff at MacKillop Education to help students develop skills in planning, teamwork and organisation, and to encourage them to creatively problem solve and to incorporate hands-on practical learning experiences. What’s more, the concept of ‘giving back’ offered opportunities for students to discover their own moral and ethical values.

Undertaking applied learning in preparation, students participated in a soup making master class with Chef Belle at the Northern Bay trade training centre. They wrote letters to local supermarkets and bakeries for donations, and were integral in planning, advertising and making soup for the community.

The students connected with regional food assistance and relief initiative, Feed Geelong, to deepen their understanding of those in need, and chose to provide further relief by donating the money raised from the Soup Kitchen to feed the homeless and most vulnerable in the Geelong region.

The pop-up soup kitchen at the Bellarine Living and Learning Centre was a huge success and students fed over 70 people from the local community in need of a hot meal.

Bethany* from Bellarine Living and Learning Centre comments: “Today was a roaring success.”

“We have loved working with [MacKillop] all this year and can’t thank [them] enough for the input you have had into the Whittington community.”

Throughout the project, three students, including our recipient of the VCAL Achievement Award, demonstrated excellent teamwork, leadership skills and an intuitive sense of social justice. They encouraged other students to stay focused, work hard and to do their bit to contribute. They also connected with local community members and ensured that everyone who attended the pop-up kitchen had a bowl of soup, a toastie and a hot drink - creating an overall space for social connection and inclusion.

“Each of [the students] have touched our lives and those within the community. Well done on a job above and beyond expectations, you blew us all away!” remarks Bethany.

MacKillop’s VCAL program supports young people from 12-18 years, living at home or in out-of-home care, in the Geelong and surrounding areas, who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging from education. The curriculum and learning activities at Mackillop School Geelong are thoughtfully planned, with the encouragement of integration of social and emotional learning in all activities.

*Name changed to protect privacy