SecondBite is desperate to put meals on the tables of those who need it most. And Coles is offering an easy way to lend a hand.
Despite providing the equivalent of more than 48 million meals a year to people in need, Australian food rescue organisation SecondBite is still struggling to meet national demand.
It comes as Coles launched its nationwide Christmas Appeal in supermarkets and liquor stores on Wednesday to raise funds so the non-profit can continue to rescue and deliver unsold edible food to almost 1400 community organisations.
Eighty per cent of these charities – established to provide food relief along with other wellbeing services – expected a greater demand this Christmas due to Covid, according to a recent SecondBite survey.
“I can tell you 100 per cent we are not meeting demand, there’s a great call out for more, particularly in the area we focus, which is the fresh produce,” SecondBite co-founder Simone Carson said.
“In the past 18 months with the lockdowns, loss of work hours and job security, the agencies are noticing a massive increase in need and it’s among all sorts of people – unemployed, homeless, single parents, elderly, disabled – and they’re really worried about Christmas as there’s a huge demand on families.”
Shoppers can support SecondBite by purchasing a $2 donation card in Coles stores until Christmas Eve or by donating at Liquorland, First Choice Liquor Market or Vintage Cellars until December 12.
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Coles working with SecondBite to alleviate hunger in Australia.
SecondBite ambassador and board director Matt Preston said that with every $2 donated, shoppers helped provide the equivalent of 10 meals to a person or family in need.
“I think we still struggle in Australia to identify that there are people who are going without fresh, nutritious food but that’s the case, and Covid has highlighted that,” he said.
“The partnership with Coles, which on its 10th anniversary has helped provide 160 million meals, is saving food that was going into a dumpster previously.
“When you meet someone who’s benefiting from the food that goes to one of those charity partners and you realise that’s just one person who is say a single dad picking up food to feed his kids, the emotional value of that is immeasurable.”
Coles chief sustainability, property and export officer Thinus Keevé said the partnership had helped change the national conversation around food waste.
“When we first partnered with SecondBite 10 years ago, it was a unique and groundbreaking partnership among supermarkets, not just in Australia but across the world, to reduce food waste and help feed vulnerable members of our community,” he said.
“We’re extremely proud of our partnership with SecondBite and it’s a cause that our team members passionately support throughout the year, whether it be by ensuring all unsold edible food gets diverted from landfill to SecondBite or by raising funds during our Coles Christmas Appeal.”
Baptist Care South Australia provided almost 34,000 free meals through its centres over the past financial year with food donated by SecondBite and Coles.
Stefano Tocci, Baptist Care SA Inner City and Westcare Centre manager, said the donations of meat, fruit and vegetables, dairy products and bread twice a week made a huge difference to their service.
“This amounts to close to 50 per cent of our requirements and enables us to resource wrap around supports for our clients to assist them to move forward in their lives, without having to worry about the basics – the essentials are covered,” he said.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Through its food program Meals Plus, Parramatta Mission provides more than 50,000 meals annually using food donated by SecondBite and Coles.
“With Covid and the growing inaccessibility our community faces to affordable housing, people often will sacrifice purchasing food to pay the rent, mortgage, or electricity,” Parramatta Mission acting CEO Mark Newton said.
“Partnerships such as the one we have with Second Bite will become more crucial as we seek to support our community and those who have been most impacted by the lock downs.”
Uniting Prahran provides almost 20,000 free and low-cost meals a years from its Hartley’s community dining room, using food donated by SecondBite and Coles.
“For many of the people we see, the meal they have here at Hartley’s might be there only hot meal for the day,” Uniting Prahran community services manager Michael Scott said.
“We’re living through a time of great uncertainty and if you’re living on the street or struggling to make ends meet, you probably don’t know where your next meal is coming from, so you’re constantly in survival mode.
“When people come to Hartley’s, they’re able to have a sit-down meal connect with others hopefully they leave knowing there are people who care about them.”
Since March 2020, Micah Projects – a non-profit committed to providing community services and opportunities to create justice and respond to injustice – have provided free fresh and healthy meals to individuals and families impacted by homelessness, family violence and poverty.
“Thanks to the generous support of Coles and SecondBite and their incredible weekly contributions of regular fresh produce donations, the team at Hope Street Cafes have been able to create, cook and distribute 11,500 ready-made meals to our community members this year,” Micah’s training and cafe manager Annette Gillespie said.
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