OzHarvest Brisbane sows goodwill

OzHarvest’s newest branch, operating out of Brisbane, has had an inspiring first six months. The food rescue program picks up unwanted excess food from supermarkets, restaurants and other food outlets and delivers them the same day to charities feeding people in need.

OzHarvest Brisbane are currently averaging 1800 kilograms of food per week – feeding around 200 people per day at a number of charitable agencies around Brisbane.

Last week the organisation collected 1600 kilograms of unwanted food from Soundwave, a massive Brisbane music festival. That unwanted food and drink, that included fruit and cheese platters, would have gone to waste had the yellow truck not come to its rescue. As a result they were able to provide a meal for men and women at the Pindari Shelters among other places.

OzHarvest Brisbane Coordinator Cameron Hickey recently travelled out west to the flood-ravaged town of Mitchell.

“We packed in about 1770 kilograms of food into the truck. The journey took us a bit longer than we anticipated, as one of the main roads into the town was flooded. In the end it was about a 10 hour drive, 600 kilometres,” says Cameron.

The locals were appreciative of the delivery, having not had access to fresh bread for up to three weeks. Food prices in the Queensland town have sky-rocketed, potatoes rising to around 4 dollars per kilo.

“One man I spoke to said he hadn’t been back to his house for three weeks, having been busy fixing roads. He knew there was about 4 feet of water in his home, and expected to just pull it down and start over,”

“What’s inspiring is that these people are facing the fallout from the worst flood on their town’s record, but they just keep persevering. The attitude is positive and though there is so much work to be done, they just keep getting up every morning and getting into it,” says Cameron. “There’s something like 5000 metres of fencing that needs to be repaired.”

Cameron points out the vast difference between Brisbane’s own flood clean up compared to somewhere as isolated as Mitchell.

“In Brisbane’s case, we’re already back on our feet from the 2011 January floods, most people covered by insurance. For these people out here, flooding is so unexpected that most are not insured, and many of the houses will be condemned. It’s a very different situation.”

OzHarvest Brisbane is looking to get a second truck to help manage the demand for picking up food that would otherwise go to landfill. They will soon be looking for volunteer drivers and other volunteer positions are available. For more information, please visit http://brisbane.ozharvest.org

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