News

YWCA Queensland and REAP by OzHarvest collaborate to reduce food waste in Toowoomba

Posted by sarahpinchbeck on Aug 17, 2016
REAP Toowoomba Launch Aug 2016

YWCA Queensland has initiated a REAP chapter in conjunction with OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation. The Chapter will be launched at the My Local Feast Farmers Markets on Thursday, 11 August 2016.

YWCA Queensland is a vibrant, women-led community organisation focused on supporting Queensland women and girls.

The project is proudly funded and supported by the Queensland Government through its Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative to support 24 Toowoomba women to obtain a Certificate 1 in Business and valuable skills and experience through a Community Work Skills traineeship. In addition to receiving nationally recognised vocational skills and qualification, these women – the majority of whom are from refugee/ migrant backgrounds – are delivering a valuable and necessary community service by joining with the OzHarvest REAP project to rescue surplus food from local food businesses and distribute to local charitable organisations.

REAP is a program based on the OzHarvest food rescue model for volunteers in regional areas that helps them connect local food business donors with local charities. The team at OzHarvest HQ provides education, best practice examples and supports regional volunteers to have a positive impact on reducing food waste and hunger in their local areas.

Since the regional food rescue program REAP was established in 2011, it has seen more than 300 locations register interest to join the food rescue network from every state of Australia. OzHarvest has successful, established REAP chapters working in, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, New England, Port Macquarie, Sunshine Coast, Sapphire Coast and Wagga Wagga. Further groups of volunteers are also researching the local needs for food and food waste education across regional Australia.

Nationwide, REAP chapters rescue in excess of 12,000 kilograms of surplus food each month from all types of food businesses including supermarkets, cafés, restaurants, produce markets and farms. They have delivered more than 720,000 meals and saved more than 240 tonnes of food from landfill, providing much needed food relief to regional Australians in need.

YWCA Queensland Chief Executive Officer, Kate Tully, said the aim of the program is to provide nationally recognised training and skills as well as making a valuable contribution to the local community.

“YWCA Queensland has been working with an amazing group of women to commence the Toowoomba REAP Chapter. At the same time, these women have been developing business skills and confidence in the workplace.”

Ronni Kahn, Founder and CEO of OzHarvest, says the Toowoomba REAP chapter offers an exciting opportunity to rescue good quality food in regional Australia.

“We know there are businesses out there with food to donate, but no way of getting it out to those who need it most. With the initiation of this collaboration with YWCA Queensland in Toowoomba and the support of the Queensland Government through the Skilling Queenslanders for Work project, REAP by OzHarvest is now in a fantastic position to help even more vulnerable people, as well as reduce landfill.”

OzHarvest services more than 800 welfare organisations in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth and in regional areas via its REAP food rescue program, including homeless shelters, women’s and men’s refuges, youth shelters and organisations that service families in vulnerable communities.

For more info on YWCA Queensland please visit www.yq.org.au or call  (07) 3230 3410.

For more info on REAP by OzHarvest please visit www.ozharvest.org/reap or call  1800 108 006.

For more information on the Queensland Government Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative please visit https://training.qld.gov.au or call  1300 369 935.

For media interviews please contact REAP National Coordinator, Sarah Pinchbeck: sarah.pinchbeck@ozharvest.org | 0417 454 752