In our Covid ravaged world we know there are real people behind the statistics of the newly unemployed here in Australia. There are already many casualties of the deepest recession in 75 years. For too many loss of a job and the income from it potentially means going hungry. Especially affected are those who don’t qualify for government assistance.

At the same time we have known for a while that a lot of food goes to waste. For example if food packaging has superficial damage (eg on a bag of oranges) supermarkets cannot sell the item.

How good therefore that there are organisations that receive this food and distribute it to those in need, sometimes direct to the needy, and sometimes though charity groups.

Two such organisations are OzHarvest And Foodbank

Volunteer opportunities:

Details of how to help can be found on their websites

Nick Woodhams, from the 4.30 pm congregation, recently started volunteering at OzHarvest and comments “ it’s been such a rewarding experience ….. as well as helping OzHarvest customers, meeting other volunteers and hearing their stories is so encouraging. And good food is not being sent to landfill “

As well as serving at the Kensington market, Nick has had shifts at food hamper handouts at Darling Harbour and at Rhodes. The supervisor at Darling Harbour, Marcus, explained “The pop up hamper handout started in May, at the request of and with funding from the City of Sydney designed to enable us to support vulnerable people such as international students many of whom had lost their part-time jobs. We give them a selection of groceries, fruit, and vegetables.”

Fiona Nearn, Media & Communications Manager for OzHarvest has provided some wonderful insights into the work of OzHarvest and the impact it has had.

Nick Woodhams asked her about the impact of Covid19 and the recession. “It has had a huge impact financially as fundraising events had to be cancelled, such as the CEO cook-off which usually raises in the order of $3 million – and this of course impacts on the number of people who can receive food though OzHarvest’s efforts.”

This has been offset to some extent by temporary government funding, but of course there has already been a huge increase in need.

As well as direct support to individuals through hamper handouts and OzHarvest markets, over 1500 charities are supported in their work. “

Fiona adds “It is so heartwarming to see the impact of our efforts. Our customers can find it overwhelming … after a period of suffering unable to feed their families adequately suddenly receive a helping hand (such as though the Community pantry in Campbelltown). “

How can we help ?

Donating time as a volunteer

Donating food (for example food drives for non-perishable items)

Donating money