Theodora’s Cheerful Givers

Cheerfully Giving to those in need

Theodora’s House, affectionately known as Theodora’s Cheerful Givers was founded by Gina Poulos to help families and individuals experiencing financial hardship to put food on the table.

Theordora’s Cheerful Givers serves around 400 food hampers each week plus over 1000 pre-cooked frozen meals. This is made possible by the generous donations of kind hearted individuals, organisations and local businesses.
See our partners page for more details.

By shopping at our Opportunity Shop you can help us to provide this wonderful service. New address to be announced soon
Call 0413 807 763 to check for opening hours.



Gina Poulos


Gina works each week to collect and distribute food parcels for those in need. Contact Nina if you would like to donate food or volunteer. Citizen of the year winner, Frankston City Council.



Cheerful Giver

Nina works along side Gina to package and distribute food parcels for those in need.

Meet Gina

Meet the Founder Gina Poulos in her recent interview
Gina recently sat down with Mornington Peninsula Magazine to chat about Theodora’s Cheerful Givers

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind founding Theodora’s Cheerful Givers and the mission of your charity? Where did the name come from?

Being of Greek origin and of Christian faith, the name Theodora originates from the Greek word ‘Theo’ (God) and ‘Dora’ (gift) – so Theodora means ‘Gift from God’.

I come from a family of givers, my dad used to always give people things when they were in need, as did my mum. The act of giving was instilled in me and my three siblings from a very young age – it was normal.

The inspiration for the charity came from knowing there was a need in the community for people needing food. So, when I saw the need, I looked for a way to give.

Theodora House Inc is a not-for-profit charity that has operated an emergency relief food-pantry in the Frankston area for nearly 20 years, responding to the needs of families and individuals in the local community who are enduring financial hardship. Our mission is to help people less fortunate than us, regardless of who you are or where you come from.

Your organisation serves around 400 food hampers each week, in addition to over 1000 pre-cooked frozen meals. Could you describe the impact this has had on the individuals and families you serve?

People thank us. The older people really appreciate it.

For the people who can’t afford food, they thank us for giving them a hot meal to eat and helping them feed their family.

For those that can’t cook, they thank us for giving them nourishing and warm meals to eat.

And to those who take food to stretch out their pension or wages, they thank us saving them the stress of wondering how they will feed their families until the next pay cheque, and how I means they can put the heater on for a little bit in the cold of winter – that’s a big thing for the families.


There are a lot of people we provide food to who live in housing communes, and they don’t know how to cook. We get lovely feedback on how wonderful the meals are and how it gives them something essential to their needs.

Theodora’s Cheerful Givers is supported by generous donations from individuals, organisations, and local businesses. How has the community’s involvement helped your charity thrive?

Our organisation wouldn’t exist without the donations or the generous volunteer support.

Can you share some heartwarming stories or experiences from your time working with Theodora’s Cheerful Givers that have left a lasting impression on you?

I will share a story about a man called Max. He used to be a chartered accountant but was now visually impaired and living by himself. He was a bit of a grump and didn’t really get along with any of his neighbours.

Me and my husband Peter would take meals to him each week and we did that for about a year. His house was rather untidy with an unpleasant odour, and while he had lovely antique furniture, it seemed Max no longer held a lot of pride in his home.

One day I was thinking about how I could help Max in another way. I was passing an electrical store and I stopped and purchased a slow cooker for $40. Next-door was a fish mongers and a fruit and vegetables store. So, I went and bought some fish and some vegetables. I took the slow cooker and the food to Max and told him I was going to show him something new, and I taught him how to cook the food in the slow cooker. From them on we would deliver frozen melas to Max and he would heat them in the slow cooker.

A few months later when we went to deliver food, Max opened the door in an apron and welcomed us inside. His house has been tidied and there was a lovely smell of food cooking in the slow cooker.

That day Max invited us to come for Christmas lunch, and that he had also invited his neighbours. It was amazing to see this transformation, and unbelievable to think that all it took was a $40 slow cooker and some food to change this man’s life.

This story has always stayed with me because it’s something that has helped him, and its helped others we have gone on to give low cookers to. We once had a donation from one of the service clubs and we purchased 20 slow cookers and gave them to people, and then delivered them frozen meals to heat up. It meant we could deliver food that was frozen, so it lasted for longer, and it gave people this wonderful sense of independence in cooking meals for themselves.

Your Opportunity Shop plays a role in supporting your charitable efforts. Could you tell us more about this and how people can get involved or contribute?

Our Opportunity Shop, Bargains and Blessings, is located Ashleigh Lane, Frankston (at the rear of RNJ Cake Shop via Ashleigh Lane) 235 Beach Street. Its only a small shop in an alley, but it gives people the opportunity to buy things for less.

A lot of people go there with vouchers we have given them to collect clothing for themselves and their children.

Teresa is our manager and we open the shop with limited hours, only two days a week, as we don’t have enough volunteers. We are hoping this will change in the future with more volunteer help.

We would love some more volunteers to work in the shop, or in the factory at 1/12 Govan Street, Seaford, packing food parcels for collection.

We don’t required set hours, just whatever people can offer of their time to do something good for the community.

And of course, cash donations are always welcomed to keep our operation running.

You can find out more about Theodora’s Cheerful Givers, how to volunteer or donate money via our website at theodorahouse.org.au, or give me a call at the phone number under the contact details.

The charity provides care and support without restrictions based on location, age, or background. How important is it for Theodora’s Cheerful Givers to maintain this inclusive approach?


We don’t judge anyone and it’s important that everyone is treated equally. Poverty doesn’t discriminate, so why would we.

We used to be able to deliver food to a lot of areas, but with rising petrol costs, vehicle maintenance costs and the need for volunteer drivers – we are unable to do a lot of deliveries.

Could you explain the process for individuals or families in need to access your services?

People in need can come and collect a food parcel from our factory at 1/12 Govan Street, Seaford between 10.00am and 3.30pm Monday to Friday. We offer a free food parcel once a fortnight and people generally need to show their Centrelink card.

We used to offer a food parcel once a week, but with the ever increasing demands for food we can now only manage once a fortnight. However, the food parcels are substantial and a family should be able to eat for a fortnight.

Theodora’s Cheerful Givers also encourages volunteers to get involved. What is the best way for people to support your mission? 

Come down and help with whatever time you have. We would appreciate anyone who has time to help pack food parcels with my husband Peter and my friend and volunteer extraordinaire, Nina. We are at the factory Monday to Friday.

People can provide funds.

People can also provide good for the opportunity shop and volunteer their time to help it run.

Your dedication to helping those in need has been recognised through your award as a Citizen of the Year by the Frankston City Council. What does this recognition mean to you and the charity?

While it is nice to be recognised, and for people to show they appreciate what we do, the awards have raised the profile of the organisation and we have had more people come to us for help.

We have also been awarded:

There are always plans to do different things and try new initiatives. I usually pilot my ideas through the local councils to see what support and assistance they can provide. 


Become a cheerful giver
We are always looking for more cheerful helpers to come and join our team.