He grew up in a housing commission flat in poverty, became a leading chef in some of the Bellarine’s most prestigious restaurants and now, with co-founder Lana Purcell and a team of almost 200 volunteers, delivers around 7,000 meals per week to people in need. They also have a donations-only grocery story, coffee shop and restaurant, and they always have space for more volunteers!
Anthony Woodbury saw a need and did what he could to help. Far from being a soup kitchen, their motto, from the beginning, has been “no questions no agendas”. Usually, he says, people wait till they’re at rock bottom before asking for food - there’s so much shame around it. He remembers hiding behind trees so his school friends wouldn’t see him waiting for a food drop-off for his lunch. And it’s not always the people you’d expect who come forward. Sometimes it’s well-off families who’ve suffered accidents or illness, people with assets and suddenly no cash flow, or neighbours and friends asking on behalf of others.
“No questions no agendas” is a culture of respect, community and care, and it’s a culture that Lana and Anthony guard. Have they ever been taken advantage of? Sure, occasionally, but most of the time people are in desperate need.
Anthony talks about his background, how Feed Me Bellarine got its start, what they need in order to grow (they’re at capacity right now in terms of provision of meals) and how their culture and community changes people... After our interview Anthony said: “It’s changed me as a person.”...
Thinking this sounds like a great idea? He also suggests how people can start something similar in their community or how to be involved in Feed Me Bellarine.
I’ve just booked a table for dinner there this Friday. Can’t wait! See you there?