Relying on the help of volunteers, Eat Up delivers a three-week supply of freshly made cheese or vegemite sandwiches to schools to freeze and distribute as needed.
“Allowing the school to distribute the sandwiches gives back control to the teachers, as they're the ones who identify which kids are going hungry, without causing potential embarrassment,” Galea said.
Eat Up Australia was born after Galea learned that students in his hometown of Shepparton were regularly being sent to school without lunch.
“I was totally taken aback, as I’d always assumed that kids in Australia would have access to food,” Galea said.
He was spurred on to act.
“I was in my mum and dad's kitchen and pinched what I could from the cupboards and bought extra bread to whip up one hundred sandwiches for the schools mentioned in the article.”
He thought these were isolated incidents, but soon came to realise the issue was far more widespread.
“From that point it became clear we had to be able to service that need on a larger scale.”
To achieve this, Galea tapped into the resources and insights available while completing his RMIT Bachelor of Business (Entrepreneurship).
“All of the business planning, growth, and structure took place through my entrepreneurship course, and the entrepreneur in residence Marcus Powe has continued to be such an insightful, influential mentor to me,” he said.
This year, Eat Up Australia will deliver more than half-a-million sandwiches to schools.
Galea said while it was great to see the program having a positive impact, there was still a way to go.
“We drop off hundreds and thousands of sandwiches to schools, but you visit them again and again and they always need more,” he said.
“This cause is so important and in a country like ours, hunger shouldn’t even be a problem, so we’re all passionate about doing what we can to help.”
Story: Alicia Olive and Diana Robertson