Fresh Food Rescue Campaign 2010
27 January 2010 at 3:33 pm
Woolworths supermarkets, together with the Federal Government, have launched a year long campaign to rescue a record amount of surplus food from the waste stream and turn it into meals for the needy.
With a target to provide two million meals for those in need and $2 million for those food relief charities who serve them, the campaign aims to address an underlying social problem in Australia.
The Australian Government will partner with Woolworths to advise on the allocation of the funding.
Each year households, retailers, restaurants and businesses throw out millions of tonnes of food which then finds its way into landfill sites. Although not always fit for sale, much of it is good quality and could easily be rescued and turned into nutritious, healthy meals for the needy or vulnerable in our society.
Organisations such as Foodbank, OzHarvest, FareShare, Food 4 Life and SecondBite and others work hard to turn excess food into nutritious meals for the homeless, the vulnerable and the needy.
These charities are primarily staffed by volunteers and only have limited resources to provide the help that is required. Food is not the only thing they need, the sector is also crying out for vehicles, storage, refrigeration and other facilities to maintain and expand their operations.
FareShare CEO Marcus Godinho says there’s no shortage of quality surplus food in Australia, however sadly local charities have lacked the means to handle the food donations on offer.
Godinho says the program will help charities to receive, store and hand out hundreds of tonnes of quality food and help the growing number of Australian families who are struggling to afford three meals a day, seven days a week.
OzHarvest Founding Director Ronni Kahn says the unwanted food is there and Australians in need are there. OzHarvest is only limited by lack of funds to enable us to collect more food from more stores to deliver to more people. An injection of funds like this to the food rescue sector helps all of us to share the surplus food with those in need.
SecondBite also supports the Woolworths initiative to expand the provision of surplus fresh food and donate $2million dollars to the food relief sector.
Food Program Manager Russell Shields says that with SecondBite’s focus on providing recipient agencies with fresh food and innovative food relief programs that provide long term preventative solutions to families in crisis, this funding will help us to collect and redistribute over 900 tonnes of fresh food in 2010 across Victoria and Tasmania.
Foodbank CEO John Webster describes the initiative as a wonderful adjunct to the current Woolworths’ program to capture and distribute surplus packaged goods from individual stores and distribution centres.
He says Woolworths is already their single largest national food donor and this will assist in expanding donations as they strive to meet the demands of the 2,200 welfare agencies that they provide food to across the country.
The Woolworths Fresh Food Rescue campaign will support food relief charities at two core levels:
- Expanding food rescue and food donation schemes from Woolworths stores to charity groups. With 687 supermarkets already participating in some kind of food rescue program, Woolworths wants to substantially increase its partnerships with local food relief charities or soup kitchens. Woolworths’ target is to turn its food surplus into two million meals for the needy in 2010.
- Building additional capacity amongst charity groups through a major grants scheme Woolworths will contribute $2 million to help charity groups expand their operations and ensure thousands more people can access healthy, nutritious food.
Woolworths says it is working toward an ambitious target to reduce organic waste to zero by the year 2015. In 2009 the company was one of Australia’s largest food donors, providing 1.35 million kilos of consumable food which is the equivalent of 1.5 million meals.
Woolworths will be consulting with a number of current charity partners to understand how the grant scheme can best address their needs.
Further details, criteria and eligibility will be released later in the year. Enquiries can be made by email – firstname.lastname@example.org.