Young Lawyers' Recipe for Pro Bono Work!
28 October 2004 at 1:10 pm
A group of young lawyers in Melbourne have come up with the right recipe to develop a few more pro bono skills after volunteering for a food distribution agency recently.
Members of the Executive of the Young Lawyers Section of
the Law Institute of Victoria – including the President, Iresha Herath, Co-Chair of the Law Reform Committee, Caroline Pascoe, the co-chairs of the Community Issues Committee, Cecilia Irvine and Leanne O’Donnell participated in the Inaugural Young Lawyers’ Bake Day for One Umbrella.
They helped prepare four hundred food units…including making sausage rolls and crumbling cheese for quiches in two hours.
Leanne O’Donnell from Middletons Lawyers says her job was to sort unopened portions of hygienically sealed food such as small jam and vegemite portions, coffee sachets or long life milk and fruit that would normally be thrown away by hospitals around Melbourne.
O’Donnell says the portions were made up into survival packs for some 2000 residents of the Richmond Highrise through the donation from Epworth Hospital was part of a pilot program for One Umbrella.
One Umbrella CEO, Carol Nikakis says is keen to encourage other hospitals to also take part in the project.
Each week One Umbrella volunteers collect, bake and distribute over 3000 meals to recipient agencies. In 2004, One Umbrella will provide more than 150,000 meals at no cost to agencies working with the homeless and hungry; freeing them to redirect funds originally earmarked for food to other worthwhile projects such as housing, rehabilitation and counselling.
One Umbrella collects from a variety of sources: restaurants, caterers, food manufacturers, suppliers and markets. Perishable, ready to eat food is rescued and transported directly to agencies. Fresh produce (both rescued and donated) is baked into meals at the Hanover Crisis Centre by volunteers.
Stepping outside their legal environments, the lawyers hope that this is the first of many monthly Bake Days where their colleagues and their friends will be encouraged to get behind this cause.
Young Lawyers President Iresha Herath says the experience was a lot of fun and the aim is to encourage law firms to muster teams to take part on monthly rosters.
She says young lawyers can then step in and out of the volunteer program as time permits.
The association with the Young Lawyers Section of the Law Institute and One Umbrella stems back several years now. In October 2002, the State Government of Victoria enacted what has become known as the “Good Samaritan” legislation that gives food donors immunity from common law liability for food donated in good condition and good faith.
In addition to the Bake Day, the Executive of the Young Lawyers Section and in particular the Law Reform Committee are working to encourage their counterparts in other states to lobby their governments to introduce similar legislation to protect food donors.
This will assist One Umbrella and other Not for Profits to extend the reach of their food rescue work.
Carol Nikakis says many more businesses in the CBD can become involved and take the example of a city business called Blue Bag Sandwiches. One Umbrella feeds 100 people a week through their donation of first grade food.
For more information about One Umbrella go to
www.oneumbrella.org.au. Carol Nikakis can be contacted on 0416 180 802.
To contact the Young Lawyers Section President, Iresha Herath call 03 9643 4153.