For 25 years, Wesley Mission Victoria’s Food for Families appeal has given a helping hand to people in the community when they need it most.

The hundreds of boxes of food and household essentials collected through the appeal means that every week, all year long, families and others who are homeless and experiencing crisis can enjoy a warm meal and make ends meet.

In this anniversary year, Wesley is celebrating the many people who contribute to the appeal, and who have received a helping hand in tough times – including volunteers, staff, schools, workplaces, community organisations and of course, its clients.

25 amazing stories will be shared by Wesley here in the lead up to Christmas, including this one from MasterChef alumni Callum Hann.

If there’s anyone who understands the importance of nutritious food, it’s Callum, who was runner-up in the second series of Masterchef Australia and spends his life cooking and exploring new ways of working with food.  Through his work with Wesley and its annual food collection appeal, he also understands that food can be taken for granted.

“We don’t realise just how good we have it here in Australia and how accessible food is for most people and their families,” said Callum. “When I found out about the work that Wesley is doing for people in an unfortunate situation, I wanted to be able to able to help in any way I could.”

Eating only the top ten most donated food items to the Food for Families appeal in the lead up to Christmas one year, Callum has put himself in the shoes of those who rely on food donations.

“The experience really highlighted the importance of donating thoughtful and nutritious foods – items people can make a good whole meal with,” he said.

Meeting people who have been able to get back on their feet after seeking support from Wesley has been really inspiring for Callum. He says there can be many reasons behind why someone can end up without a home, often simply involving a really bad run of luck – which can happen to anyone.

“When you actually meet some of the people affected, you realise they’re not just numbers or statistics you hear in the news and that every one of these people have gone through a really hard time,” he said. “Doing your bit here and there, whether it’s through donations, or raising awareness on social media, anything you can do to make someone’s life a little bit easier, really does help. We owe it to ourselves to help people who are down.”

Melbourne readers: get on board with the 25th Food for Families appeal. Simply fill a bag or a box with non-perishable groceries, and help families in need put food on the table this Christmas and throughout 2017.