With food insecurity on the rise, people across the Hunter are facing hardships they have never faced before. OzHarvest Newcastle have been busier than ever, working to meet the increasing demand for food relief. The team recently celebrated a huge milestone in their food relief operations, with the delivery of their ten millionth meal to local charity Soul Cafe.
Founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn AO said, “When Neil Slater from Scratchleys asked OzHarvest to open a chapter in Newcastle – he certainly could not have envisioned how relevant and impactful the service would be to his local community. Thank you Neil for having the foresight!”
OzHarvest Acting Newcastle Manager, Andrew Turner explained that in the last 10 years, more than 3,400 tonnes of surplus food has been saved from ending up in landfill and redirected it to help feed locals in need.
“Our 4 yellow vans are on the road every week delivering good food to charities, schools and community groups to help those most at risk across the Hunter region. There is no doubt 2020 was a year like no other, with a drastic rise in people experiencing food insecurity and many turning to charities for the first time in their lives. The OzHarvest team has rallied to meet demand, delivering two million meals in the last 12 months.”
Andrew said, “We could not have achieved this milestone without the ongoing support of our OzHarvest drivers and support staff on the ground, our incredible yellow army of over 40 volunteers, our local corporate donors, our engaged food donors and supportive agencies. This has been a community effort in so many ways.
“We are incredibly proud to deliver our 10 millionth meal to Soul Cafe today, a charity OzHarvest has supported for many years, delivering around 400kg of nutritious, quality food each week,” said Andrew.
Matthew Ortiger, Manager at Soul Café, explained that the weekly deliveries are vital to support their charity. “We provide around 40,000 meals every year to vulnerable communities. Our motto is ‘More Than a Meal’ – we start with a meal with the aim of getting people involved in our community and ultimately helping them in ways that really impact and transform their lives. Without OzHarvest, we wouldn’t have that meal to share and start each conversation!”
OzHarvest Newcastle relies on regular food donations from more than 128 local businesses, including National Food Rescue Partner Woolworths who provide a regular supply of fresh and nutritious food to help support more than 125 organisations in the region.
Kotara Woolworths Store Manager Leanne Marks said: “As the fresh food people, our passion and respect for food is an essential part of who we are, and what we do. Our commitment to identify and divert surplus fresh food to OzHarvest for local charities like Soul Cafe, who help feed those in need, is a great example of how a little good everyday can make a big difference.”