Codgers Capers Men’s Group feeding the community

By Liz Mellino

Every Tuesday a small group of men meets in Shepparton to discuss the highs and lows of life over a cuppa and a biscuit.

These men form the Codgers Capers Men's Group, and have been operating for nearly nine years in the community.

Describing themselves as an alternative to a traditional Men's Shed, there is more than meets the eye with this group of fellows.

While they admit they meet to socialise with other like-minded men, they also ensure they are doing their bit for the community.

The members regularly distribute items of food and frozen meals to local homeless people and those living rough.

The group recently received a $750 grant from CVGT to continue the work it does in feeding the less fortunate members of the community.

"With that $750 we'll probably get about 600 meals out of that, it works out between $1 $1.50 per meal," group secretary, treasurer and food safety supervisor David Baker said.

"We get the food from supermarkets or SPC or wherever we can get them from cheapest and we bring them back here and we cook them up."

The group supply hundreds of frozen meals to the community each month.

Mr Baker said a handful of members from the group met regularly to cook the meals, with the demand based on how full their freezer supply was looking.

The group supplies hundreds of meals each month, with more than 280 meals going out in July to people in need.

"We normally cook up between 100-140 meals in one day, depending on how many people come in to help us cook," Mr Baker said.

"It depends on how much is in the freezer, we have just given out 36 meals this morning so that's dropped our numbers down so we've got to build that up."

The group works alongside a number of services within the community to distribute the meals, including Community Care, Family Care, Life Church and Shepparton Family and Financial Services.

"We're able to give the meals out to the homeless that come and visit us or the single people that are doing it a bit rough," Shepparton Family and Financial Services micro finance manager Tracie Driscoll said.

"We're doing between 30-40 food parcels a day, we did not expect that response whatsoever ... we're thrilled to be working in the community and getting to know what other organisations are here that we can tap into for our clients."

Members of the Codgers Capers Men's Group meet weekly at the Church of Christ in Shepparton. They are pictured with Shepparton Family and Financial Services' micro finance manager Tracie Driscoll and volunteer Robyn Playford.

Mr Baker said the food program was one of many initiatives run through the men's group, with members also meeting weekly to listen to guest speakers and attend trips around the region.

While other men's sheds involve tools and hands-on activities, the Codgers Capers Men's Group is known for being a social outing where men can share their feelings and discuss daily life.

"A lot of guys don't want to be in a shed where you use tools, they're not tool makers,  they have never used carpentry tools, or metal work or welding or anything like that," Mr Baker said.

"This is a social group where men can get together to have fun and talk over their problems - we all have mental health problems here and we talk about our illnesses, we support each other."

Mr Baker said new members were always welcome, and he encouraged locals to get in touch and be part of their support network.

"We're a support group for people that are isolated, lonely, widowed or have nothing to do - it's only once a week for a couple of hours," he said.

For more information about the group or to join, phone David Baker on 0419 307 005.

Follow the links below to read about other local organisation's working to combat hunger within the community:

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