OzHarvest grew from a community need to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste. Founder and CEO Ronni Kahn decided that she could not stand by and watch as the twin problems of food waste and hunger co-existed.
After researching options for dealing with food waste and coming up empty, Ronni decided to start up a food rescue charity herself. November 2004 saw the launch of OzHarvest Sydney, a one-of-a-kind program that collects fresh surplus food from restaurants, supermarkets and other food sellers and distributes it to people in need with their same-day service. Having extra food on-hand means that charities can spend more time and money focusing on their valuable programs and supporting the vulnerable.
Seven years on, with locations across Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle and Adelaide, OzHarvest is now launching in Brisbane in partnership with Wesley Mission Brisbane.
OzHarvest truck driver Bob Hannah has made the move to Brisbane after six years at OzHarvest’s Sydney operation.
“I love seeing the smiles on their faces when we deliver food, the charities appreciate what we do and the donors are happy to give away food,” says Bob. “It’s a good feeling at the end of the day, when we go home knowing that people in need have something in their tummies.”
“Some places will go out of their way to prepare meals for us – while they’re working – and box up something special especially for us to collect,” says Bob. “And people on the street always wave when they see the yellow van.”
By collecting food from generous donors and delivering to charities, thousands of kilograms of surplus food are saved from going to landfill each year. On average, every kilogram of food that OzHarvest rescues will avoid two kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions, and avoid the consumption of 143 litres of water.
OzHarvest will deliver their one millionth meal this month. To find out how you can help by donating food, money or time, visit http://www.ozharvestbrisbane.org