BENDIGO students have turned their new-found skills to good use and cooked up a storm for people doing it tough.
The Southern Grampians Adult Education students have spent the last few months cooking meals through a "Cafe for COVID" program.
Student Glenn Daley is part of the team.
"I just like learning about those temperatures on the stove, doing the measurements, preparing the food," he said.
Mr Daley has relished the chance to learn new cooking skills and says it is a welcome change from the theory-based work in some of his other classes.
"It's a really great environment (in the kitchen) and the teachers are good. It's good fun," he said.
Last week the students cooked a spaghetti bolognese dish, though Mr Daley said he had been most partial to the sausages, veggies and mashed potato the crew made the week prior.
Until the return of stage three COVID-19 restrictions last week, Mr Daley would ferry ingredients into class, help cook them up, and transport them to Bendigo Foodshare's Long Gully warehouse to go to people experiencing food poverty.
The group has steadily raised the number of meals it has prepared from 120 at the beginning to 220 last week.
The ingredients are sourced from donations made to Bendigo Foodshare from other groups.
The deliveries could not have come a moment too soon for Bendigo Foodshare, which this week revealed it is grappling with a 30-40 per cent rise in demand since the pandemic arrived in Australia.
SGAE trainer Tonya Harris said it was a great way for students to give back to the community, all of whom are part of a course for people who have disabilities.
"We designed the program around them having valuable social engagement and improving their community. It really helps their confidence to know they are giving back when there are people in need," she said.
"Most have just gained all these skills through an 18 month program so the Cafe for COVID program is about building upon that."
Some students want to use the program to build their skill base in the hope of employment in a kitchen, others want to sharpen life skills.
The classes are going on hiatus until authorities ease stage three COVID-19 restrictions in at least six weeks.
During that time, SGAE staff will fill orders for meals, Mrs Harris said.
"We want to keep that commitment. We always said that if we did go back into a distance learning mode we would do that," she said.
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