Creating Connections through Cooking project

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What is the Creating Connections through Cooking Project?

This project involves people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds volunteering in a school tuckshop. QAST helps to recruit community members and match them with a local school where they can volunteer. We support them to be orientated to the tuckshop environment.

Who are we looking for?

The project primarily targets women from refugee and migrant backgrounds. These women often don’t participate in volunteer or work opportunities due to caring for small children, so may have less opportunity to practice English or gain work experience. Creating Connections through Cooking provides an opportunity for these women to be active participants in the school community, meet other people and share their fantastic cooking skills.

How do these volunteers help in the tuckshop? 

There are a range of tasks that volunteers can complete. Depending on their initial skills, volunteers may prefer to only complete some of these tasks until they become more confident, including:

  • Preparing food
  • Packaging food and sorting into class boxes or service displays
  • Sharing new recipes
  • Serving food to students
  • Washing the dishes
  • Cleaning.

In late 2022, we sat down with volunteer, Najiba Tahirie to talk about her experience in the tuckshop. Take a look at the video. We also chatted with Annie Morris from TAFE Qld about the benefits for volunteers.

Do you need any special skills to volunteer? 

Everyone can volunteer in a tuckshop by contributing one or more hours each week, during school hours. There are no special skills or previous experience needed.

If you do not have a child at the school where you volunteer, volunteers need to have a (free) Blue Card (Working with Children Check) to start volunteering. QAST helps volunteers complete this application if needed.

A member of the QAST project team supports new volunteers on their first day in the tuckshop, and provides ideas of suitable tasks from the tuckshop convenor. When the tuckshop convenor and volunteer are comfortable, they can continue this working relationship without additional support from QAST.

What do our volunteers say? 

“Volunteer in the tuckshop – it’s the best!”

Keen to hear what the first day is like? We sat down with volunteer, Uka, to hear about her experience. Read her story to get an idea on what to expect.

ABC News Brisbane completed a story about the project in March 2021, which included an interview with some of our participants. Take a look!

How can I get involved?

If you would like to volunteer in a tuckshop, host volunteers at your tuckshop or are a community organisation who would like to support us, please get in touch! Our project team can be contacted at the QAST office on (07) 3324 1511 or email

Want more information about Creating Connections through Cooking project?

Download the Connections through Cooking project brochure.

If you’re a volunteer, complete this Expression of Interest form to get involved in the project.

If you’re a convenor, complete this Convenor Expression of Interest form to get involved in the project.

The Creating Connections through Cooking program is proudly supported by the Queensland Government.

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