Welfare agencies celebrate launch of food project
Foodbank NSW on June 23 hosted the official launch of Waste Not Want Not, a program which will provide fresh fruit and vegetables to families in New South Wales and the ACT that rely on hunger relief.
Foodbank NSW partnered with the Carrathool Shire Council, Department of Primary Industries and the Uniting Church to form a joint venture that will rescue food from farmers that does not meet the narrow specifications for commercially acceptable product.
With Foodbank’s capabilities, the otherwise wasted produce will now be delivered to 450 welfare agencies across New South Wales and the ACT to feed over 60,000 people every week.
Gerry Andersen, CEO of Foodbank NSW, said, “This project couldn’t be starting at a better time. Over the last 12 months, there has been a 33% increase in the number of welfare agencies that rely on Foodbank’s services in New South Wales alone.
“With fruit and vegetables prices at a record high, we want to make sure all Australians have access to fresh food and we know our welfare agencies are currently not getting enough fruit and vegetable produce to meet demand.”
Michael Wright, Director of Homeless Services, Parramatta Mission, said, “Fruit and vegetables are a basic staple for our clients seeking assistance from Parramatta Mission. With the cost of fresh produce so high, this supply from Foodbank is crucial to our survival.”
Penny Davies, Community Development Officer with the Carrathool Shire Council, said “Waste Not Want Not is a great example of how a local community initiative can make a significant impact and help thousands of Australians in need.
“The well-known story of the ‘city helping the bush’ will be turned on its head as much of the fresh fruit and vegetables from the Carrathool Shire producers will be delivered to metro welfare agencies,” adds Penny.
Participating farmers are motivated by altruism and a desire that their produce does not go to waste. Thanks to a donation certificate issued by Foodbank, they also have the added incentive of a tax benefit.
Waste Not Want Not is a significant step forward for Foodbank NSW as it is looking to increase donations of fresh produce in order to raise the nutritional profile of food it delivers to welfare agencies.
Last year, Foodbank NSW provided an estimated 3.8 million meals to needy people in NSW and ACT, however, only 15 per cent of this was fruit and vegetables. The goal is to increase this to 35 per cent by 2015 to bring the ratio more in line with the National Dietary Guidelines.
Mr Andersen said, “We hope this new partnership will become a future model for other local communities and fresh produce donors. We want to encourage other regions to get involved so we can grow Waste Not Want Not to a size where we will have a consistent supply of fruit and vegetables throughout the year.”
Waste Not Want Not has already delivered 1,300 pumpkins, 9,000 kilograms of oranges and 10,000 kilograms of potatoes to the Foodbank NSW warehouse.
This produce from farmers in the Carrathool Shire would have otherwise been wasted and will now help feed over 60,000 Australians who rely on support from Foodbank NSW every week.
Foodbank is the largest hunger relief organisation in Australia. In partnership with the food industry, the corporate sector, governments, welfare agencies and volunteers, Foodbank is tackling the hidden problem of hunger in Australia, one empty stomach at a time.
It is a non-denominational, national organisation, with distribution centres in six states, the Northern Territory and eight regional centres. Foodbank is endorsed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council as the food industry’s charity partner.
In 2009-10, 19 million kilograms of food was donated to create 25 million meals. This enabled Foodbank to assist 2,500 welfare agencies to provide 70,000 meals every day.
Foodbank acts as a conduit between the food and grocery industry’s donations and the welfare sector’s needs. Food companies deliver their donations to Foodbank warehouses and welfare agencies collect the donated food and distribute it to people in need.