OzHarvest has launched a new service to help meet the increased demand for food relief in Melbourne due to the impact of COVID‐19. The OzHarvest Food Essentials Box will provide ‘ready to cook’ meals with fresh local food and recipes to feed a family of four for a week.
The new service trialled at the start of May and has already delivered over 3,000 boxes to local charities, who distribute the boxes directly to families in need. From June, OzHarvest will scale up the project to supply 1,800 boxes a week, which will feed over 6,000 people in regional Victoria and Melbourne Metro.
OzHarvest Victoria Manager, Bernardo Tobias said demand for food relief in Victoria had increased by well over 50% since COVID-‐19. “OzHarvest is providing an essential service as there are new cohorts of people now turning to food relief. Thanks to recent federal government funding OzHarvest Melbourne has been able to respond to the need with a new innovative service to soften the blow of this crisis on the most vulnerable in our community.”
“The new Food Essentials Box includes fresh produce sourced from local Victorian food businesses and producers, providing a regular supply of nutritious food to support over 15,000 families over 12 weeks. This service is in addition our usual food rescue of 300,000+ meals per month delivered directly to 117 charities in Victoria,” said Bernardo.
Developed by a team of nutritionists, the OzHarvest Food Essentials Box is designed to provide 28 nourishing meals for a typical family of four with around 15kgs of food. Every box includes two printed recipes to help families cook healthy meals.
Uniting Community Services Manager (Prahran Mission), Michael Scott has already distributed over 70 boxes to local families from St Kilda to Port Melbourne, Carnegie to South Yarra and everywhere in between and says the response has been fantastic. “The OzHarvest Food Essentials Box is a real life-‐saver. There are so many families now who are struggling to pay bills and put food on the table, unemployed people, those who self-‐isolating due to age or pre-‐existing illness and people with mobility issues who can’t carry groceries long distances.”
“One elderly man cried when we turned up with a box of fresh veggies, fruit and other food items. He struggles to do shopping as he has a walker and usually needs to do 3-‐4 trips each week to the supermarket. With nothing but public transport, he was fearful of catching COVID‐19 and had decided to go without some days. Now those in need have access to fresh, nutritious food with easy to cook recipes -‐ it’s one less thing for people to worry about in these difficult times,” said Michael.
OzHarvest Food Essentials Box is a local initiative funded by the Federal Government Department of Social Services to support Victorians experiencing food insecurity as a result of the COVID‐19 pandemic, in areas including: Port Phillip, Bendigo, Bellarine, Newport, Wyndham, Croydon North, Hoppers Crossing, South Melbourne, Collingwood, Cremorne, Footscray, Mulgrave, Lyndhurst and Mornington Peninsula.
For more information on this service contact [email protected] or call (03) 9999 5070.