OzHarvest recently expanded its commitment to greater Toowoomba, boosting food rescue and food relief services from two days a week to five days a week.
This expansion has created three local Food Rescue Driver jobs and means more quality, excess food will be prevented from going to waste, allowing OzHarvest to provide greater relief to its 21 charities and agencies in the region.
OzHarvest Queensland Manager, Anthony Dunne explained the challenges and opportunities around this move.
“We have been humbled by the response of the Toowoomba community in welcoming us and advocating for our critical community service. While it is true that there is personal and commercial wealth in the region, there are so many families and individuals experiencing food insecurity and we are on a mission to do everything we can to feed the forgotten.”
“We are putting the call out to all Toowoomba food businesses, from grocers, to wholesalers, to restaurants and cafes: If you have quality, excess food, please reach out to us to arrange collection.”
Since commencing Toowoomba operations in 2018, OzHarvest has delivered nearly 600,000 meals across a network of 21 charities, including BigDog Services, The Base, and Teen Challenge. In addition to the powerful community benefit, this also sees 356,936 kilograms of greenhouse emissions prevented by avoiding food waste.
The Heights Community Centre Coordinator, Kaye Lindsay, said the regular supply of fresh food from OzHarvest means they are able to feed many families every week.
“People often are surprised to learn the extent to which families are struggling in Wilsonton Heights and Rockville. We support so many families, including extended Indigenous families experiencing loss or grief. When we make up the food boxes with the beautiful fresh food from OzHarvest, it provides families nourishment but also dignity that they have food to feed their loved ones at a time when they are struggling with so many other challenges.”
OzHarvest Toowoomba relies on regular food donations from 34 local businesses, including National Food Rescue Partner Woolworths, which provides a regular supply of fresh and nutritious surplus food from its 7 stores in Toowoomba to help support more than 21 charities in the region.
Amanda Austin is store manager at Woolworths Toowoomba Grand Central, which has donated more than 125,000 meals to OzHarvest Toowoomba since 2016.
“As the fresh food people, our love and respect for food is an essential part of who we are, and what we do. The ability to identify and divert our surplus fresh food to OzHarvest for local charities like Heights Community Centre who help feed those in need, is a critical part of our day-to-day operations and support of the community.”
Support is always needed locally from food donors to volunteers who all play a vital role in helping to feed hungry people in the local area. To help the OzHarvest Toowoomba team please contact 07 3708 1380 or to make a donation go to ozharvest.org.