After more than a decade of volunteering with OzHarvest, Alan Froude has officially handed in his yellow t-shirt and joined the OzHarvest team – we could not be more excited! Ronni Kahn, OzHarvest Founder and CEO, said, “Alan has been a part of our yellow family for many years. I still remember when he first joined! Alan has seen us grow and has been with us through thick and thin. I was absolutely overjoyed when he came on board as a staff member this year – finally, we convinced him!”
We chatted to Alan about his time with OzHarvest and his new role as Agency Liaison Officer.
How long have you been volunteering with OzHarvest?
I started volunteering 11 years ago in March 2010. Like many people when they retire, I quickly realised I needed something constructive to do. I did a short stint volunteering with a large charity, but even though it was wonderful charity doing amazing work, I didn’t feel “connected”. Then I heard Ronni being interviewed on the radio – it was like an epiphany! I had never heard of OzHarvest or food rescue, but it immediately resonated with me. I made contact and was told “We’d love to have you – come in on Friday if you can”.
I will never forget my first day – the OzHarvest office team was so small then, just Ronni, a general manager, one logistics person, and someone who did everything else (plus the drivers, of course). I walked in and they were having a meeting. Ronni said, “Please join us, we’d love to have your contribution!” It was warmest way to be welcomed!
What is your fondest memory during your time in the OzHarvest family?
It’s always about the love – I feel so privileged to know that my contribution is valued. In April last year we were in lockdown, and I got a phone call from the Sydney Volunteer Co-ordinator asking if she could pop in to say hello. I thought that was strange, as we were not allowed to have visitors in lockdown. But when she met me in the lobby of our building, she said “Happy 10th anniversary with OzHarvest”, and presented me with flowers, cocktails, a take-away dinner prepared by the OzHarvest kitchen team, wine and a beautiful card. I was deeply touched and very grateful.
How has OzHarvest changed since you first started as a volunteer?
Everything has scaled up! My first job was manually creating tax receipts for donations and recording them in a spreadsheet – thankfully that’s all been automated for years now! And while the team has grown immensely, OzHarvest still feels like a family, with everyone working together to get the job done. Ronni always says OzHarvest is a magnet for magnificent people, and it’s true!
What encouraged you to take on your new role and how are you enjoying it so far?
When the pandemic started in early 2020, volunteering roles were vastly reduced, but from June I was able to help the new Food Relief Hamper program. My role was to contact the charity agencies on the waiting list, understand their needs and offer the new hamper service. Once they are set up, I’m then their point of contact for any queries.
In those days we were doing 1,500-2,000 hampers a week. But when Sydney went into lockdown this year, demand escalated and we’re now packing and distributing almost 10,000 hampers a week. My role got much busier and became more than a volunteer role, so I agreed to come on to join the team officially! In the last few months, many of our charitable agencies have increased or even doubled their numbers, so my role has just kept getting busier. But I love it! The OzHarvest team is a very happy family, and I’m proud to be a part of it.