Over the past decade, our incredible OzHarvest volunteers around the country have established eight regional chapters – rescuing and delivering food locally! Volunteering countless hours, spreading joy and love, and rescuing and delivering delicious, quality food, these amazing teams have provided much needed support to regional communities. In this time, their combined efforts have delivered an incredible 5,992,000 meals to vulnerable regional communities!
Here’s a quick round up of what our local heroes have achieved recently.
OzHarvest Sunshine Coast reached their one million meal milestone earlier this year. This is a major achievement from Chapter Coordinator. Michele Lipner and her dedicated team of around 80 volunteers, who are currently supporting 44 charities on the Sunshine Coast. The team and their local food donors rallied during the bushfires and have been working relentlessly to help vulnerable groups, including international students during the pandemic. Next on the agenda is their 6th anniversary. Happy Birthday Sunshine Coast!
Our wonderful chapter coordinator Julie Ferguson has achieved local recognition for her dedication to volunteering, as she was named 2020 Local Woman of the Year. Member for Coffs Harbour, Gurmesh Singh described her as “an unstoppable force for kindness” as she has worked tirelessly, along with her team of 40 volunteers running OzHarvest Coffs Harbour since 2014. The Coffs team also recently reached their one million meals milestone – a big congratulations to all!
The team in Wagga have also been hard at work delivering much needed food relief to 17 charities in the Wagga region, with John Foord leading the charge. John was recently named Senior NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Riverina District in Wagga and won the All-Round Volunteer award, for which there were 118,000 nominations! John started the OzHarvest Wagga Chapter eight years ago. Along with his dedicated team of 25 volunteers, they have delivered more than 900,000 meals in the local community. This award is well deserved – congratulations John!
When COVID-19 hit Australia, many volunteers in our Victor Harbor chapter had to step back. However, almost all have now returned, along with a couple of extra volunteers, led by Bronte Collins and have delivered more than 124,000 meals to people in need. Among the dedicated team of 13 volunteers is 94-year-old Jim Miles, who continues to give his time to help others.
Starting around ten years ago, OzHarvest Port Macquarie is our longest running chapter currently supporting 31 charities. Over the decade, the chapter has delivered more than 1.8 million meals to people in need throughout the community. This is an incredible achievement by our team of 12 volunteers. Plus the addition of a brand-new food rescue vehicle. OzHarvest Port Macquarie are also looking for a passionate volunteer to lead their team.
This was once run as a single operation spanning around 100km from north to south. Two years ago, the chapter was split to be more manageable for the coordinators and volunteers. Led by Rebeccah Norman, Sapphire Coast South has been affected by both bushfires and COVID-19, but has managed to keep rescuing food, despite diminished food resources and volunteers. Sapphire Coast North was severely impacted by the bushfires and had to put their operations on hold to allow the volunteer team to prioritise their own personal situations. The good news is that they are back under the leadership of Michael Palmer and a team of 10 volunteers, who have a newfound passion for food rescue! Together, the Sapphire Coast chapters have delivered more than 232,000 meals!
One of our youngest chapters, OzHarvest Southern Highlands started around three years ago. It’s a small chapter but has great local food donors, who supply a regular source of rescued food and a huge injection of wonderful fresh produce which has helped feed those who have been affected by the bushfires and COVID-19. Led by Jenny O’Reagan and her team of 12 volunteers, they have delivered more than 223,000 meals!
Starting only in June of this year, our Central Coast chapter has already made a huge impact in the region. Led by Annika Stott and Luke McKelvey with a team of passionate local volunteers, they have already delivered more than 216,000 meals to people in need, supporting 15 charities on the Central Coast. This is an incredible achievement in such a small time – well done team Central Coast!
We want to say a great big thank you to all the hard-working chapter coordinators and their teams. Their tireless efforts ensure that good food gets to those who need it most. The countless hours and ongoing passion shown by each of these individuals truly embodies the OzHarvest spirit, without them we could not support many vulnerable people in regional communities.