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Community bonds over food

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Students and refugees shared a meal together at Maryland Neighbourhood Centre as part of NSW Youth Week celebrations.

Food rescue charity OzHarvest hosted a special cooking skills workshop last week to promote its Nutrition Education Sustenance Training (NEST) initiative.

The program aims to teach young people, as well as those in need, to nurture themselves through healthier eating choices and food preparation.

OzHarvest NEST coordinator, Lea Browning, said the initiative wanted to increase community connectedness.

She added the workshop was a great way to educate young people on cooking skills while broadening their social awareness.

“This is the second time we’ve run the intensive Youth Week NEST session, with the students involved always keen to prepare, cook, and provide the meals to our guests,” Ms Browning said.

“The impact from this luncheon is it brings the community together [through] sharing a meal, socialisation, and companionship.

“The students [also] learn life skills that they could then further develop in their everyday lives and spur their interest in making healthier decisions in relation to their food choices.”

Ms Browning said the idea was born when Maryland Neighbourhood Centre manager, Michele Kowalski, approached her about Youth Week activities.

“We had already been involved in Youth Week last year with Maryland and it was a great success, so we thought it would be beneficial to [do so] again,” Ms Browning said.

OzHarvest’s NEST program is funded by the Greater Charitable Foundation.

In the past two years, OzHarvest has delivered 21 programs to 585 participants in the Newcastle region.

NSW Youth Week went from 10 to 18 April.

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