FORaMEAL is a project of the Rotary Club of Canterbury. The club has partnered with not-for-profit organisation Multicultural Australians Transforming and Engaging Society (M.A.T.E.S. for Change), which equips and challenges young multicultural Australians to participate in the social purpose sector.

FORaMEAL provides emergency relief meals for those impacted by natural disasters. Each year more than 150,000 meals are provided free of charge to vulnerable individuals and families across the Asia Pacific region in times of disaster. To date, over 500,000 meals have been distributed for free.

PICTURED: FORaMEAL leader Val Cunniffe and Rotaract Club of Whitehorse co-presidents Dan Du Bois and Alice Terrill joined members of the Rotary Club of Canterbury and the Rotaract Club of Whitehorse along with more than 70 volunteers in February to pack 4,000 FORaMEAL bags to provide emergency relief meals to those in need in the Philippines.

In 2020-21 the Rotary Club of Canterbury decided to redirect part of its FORaMEAL effort to help the most vulnerable in the Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne. They distributed 100,000 nutritious meals to vulnerable Victorians. By August, more than 200,000 meals had been issued as part of the FORaMEAL COVID-19 response.

During this time, 27 community groups and students from over 30 schools participated in assisting the COVID FORaMEAL rollout. The project’s efforts were recognised by the Victorian Government as well as the Victorian Multicultural in the Multicultural Award for Excellence 2020 in the category of Community Innovation.

PICTURED: Biochemist Dr Doug Hawley designed and formulated the FORaMEAL packs to include a balanced and nutritious blend of carbohydrates, important fats and proteins, together with a sachet of essential vitamins and minerals.

In February 2022, five clubs in District 9800 – Williamstown, Point Gellibrand, Altona, Altona City and Yarraville – combined to fill meal packages. Each package contains enough food to feed a family of six and includes nutritious sachets of essential vitamins along with cereals such as oats, lentils and rice. The packs are then shipped overseas and held by a local Rotary district (to make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands) in anticipation of a time of need such as earthquake, typhoon, uprising etc. Often this is the only food available for displaced families.

In late September 2022, the Canterbury club responded to a request to send supplies to Ukrainians affected by the war. They sent 10,000 nutritional meals packed in easy-to-use pouches. They also responded to a request for underwear for the soldiers working in difficult and remote conditions.