Each week day, two refrigerated vans are making their way across the region rescuing and delivering food to disadvantaged people.
Traveling to North Coast supermarkets and collecting food that would have otherwise gone to landfill, the vans bring these items back to communities in Evans Head, Grafton, Kyogle, Mullumbimby and Nimbin as part of the Food Recovery North Coast project run by the Consortium of Neighbourhood Centres – Far North Coast (CONC).
Food Recovery Coordinator Michelle Burns said since the project commenced in July last year, they’ve rescued close to 54 tonnes of food products.
‘We’ve done around 60,000kms already – it’s incredible the amount of people we’ve been able to feed. We couldn’t have done this without the support of our sponsors,’ Ms Burns said.
‘Funding from the NSW Environmental Trust covered the cost of the vans and kitchen infrastructure while a $19,800 grant from the ETC Community Support Fund will support the operation and maintenance of the vans for the next financial year (servicing, maintenance, on-road operational costs).’
Mullum’s tasty meals
The Mullumbimby community in particular has seen a positive change with an increase in people’s overall health and wellbeing.
Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre Volunteer Mel Williams said, ‘Initially we had a community lunch here just one day per week, which quite often was just a pot of boiled vegetables, as we didn’t have a lot to choose from.
‘We wanted to improve the service so our Centre joined with other Centres across the region for the Food Recovery Program,’ she said.
‘Since that was implemented, we’ve been able to dramatically increase the number of people we’re feeding (now between 50-80), lunch has gone from just one pretty average lunch to a gourmet lunch, four days a week.’
‘We would have to call ambulances quite often in past years due to malnutrition, whereas this year we’ve only had to call them once. Businesses in the local area have also said they’ve noticed a big change in what goes on in their shops. I love the joy I’m seeing from people – eating together and eating well,’ Mel said.
ETC Deputy Chair Lorraine Penn said it was a pleasure to be able to support the project.
‘The ETC Community Support Fund is designed to help organisations reduce disadvantage, generate opportunity, increase support services and/or build capacity in the communities in which we operate,’ Ms Penn said.
For more information about Food Recovery North Coast visit www.foodrecovery.org.au or https://www.facebook.com/foodrecovery.org.au/