The Big Umbrella Foundation

Food rescue, Feeding people, Forming communities

Since 2010, The Big Umbrella Foundation (TBU) has been creating and serving restaurant quality meals to people experiencing food insecurity and homelessness using rescued food and produce served by our team of dedicated volunteers. TBU operates as a safe and inclusive space forging a sense of belonging and creating community. The devastating 2015 earthquake in Nepal initiated TBU’s first emergency response and inspired TBU to expand its reach into delivering disaster relief services on an ongoing basis. Since 2019 TBU has formally become a nationally recognised emergency food relief organisation supporting communities affected by wildfires, floods, earthquakes, storms and pandemics.


Meals Served

Our Work

ARM Team Building

Corporate groups are invited to prepare ‘A Real Meal’ (ARM) using rescued food and fresh produce from TBU’s Urban Farm in MG’s commercial kitchen. Led by our chef and volunteers, teams will enjoy creating restaurant quality meals while learning about composting and zero-waste cooking techniques. These meals will then be served at Federation Square Melbourne to our friends on the street. This socially conscious team building activity opens eyes, warms hearts and changes lives. 

A Real Meal

Started in 2010, A Real Meal (ARM) is a freely offered nutritious meal for people experiencing food insecurity. Dietary and culturally sensitive dishes are created in our commercial kitchen Brunswick using rescued food and then served in the heart of Melbourne at Federation Square by our family of volunteers and corporate guests. ARM brings people together in a safe and inclusive space to enjoy a sit down shared meal and a friendly chat.

Emergency Food Relief (EFR)

In response to the 2015 Nepal earthquake, TBU initiated its first emergency response which inspired TBU to expand its reach into delivering emergency relief services on an ongoing basis. In 2019, after the devastating wildfires in Victoria and New South Wales, TBU Disaster Food Relief Team (DRT) was formally established. Our food truck was mobilised within days and was stationed for weeks providing thousands of hot meals for people living in evacuation centres and first responders.  Since then, TBU DTR has provided crisis accommodation meals during the 111 straight days of pandemic lockdown, the 2021 Dandenong storms and the devastating 2022 Lismore and Shepparton floods. 

Urban Farm

The pandemic taught us a lot about food shortages and not to take our food supply for granted. 900sqm of disused land has been transformed into a high production Urban Farm. It is a sustainably built closed loop food system where food scraps are composted to fill wicker beds irrigated by water captured from the factory roof to grow a variety of vegetables and herbs. Combined with the rescued food we receive, this fresh produce enables our kitchen team to make our delicious restaurant quality meals. A mushroom lab, orchard, bee hives and egg laying chickens will complete the picture. 

Get Involved

Individual Volunteers

Share your time, expertise and kindness to care for people in need. Meet other warm hearted people who generously donate their time in our kitchen, meal service, urban farm and warehouse. 

Team Building Volunteering

Sign up for a one of a kind teambuilding experience in Melbourne! Click the link below to receive an information pack for your company to volunteer with us.


Run by volunteers means 100% of your donation will go directly towards running our programs. To donate please click the donate button below.

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Corporate Sponsors