Vulnerable Australians will be able to put more food on the table after 52 community food relief charities were granted vital equipment to expand their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The Feed Appeal grants, raised through community and corporate donations, will purchase two new kitchens, seven refrigerated vehicles, six cool rooms, 23 commercial fridges or freezers, four ovens, two forklifts plus food staples, kitchen equipment and storage for grassroots organisations across all states and territories.
Sydney’s Exodus Foundation will use its funding to renovate its current kitchen and double its meal production from 20,000 to 40,000 hot meals cooked per month for those in need.
The Angels Community Group in Bundaberg will buy a refrigerated van to increase capacity and extend the reach of their food pantry service into surrounding rural communities.
“We have always wanted to expand our service to people who lacked transport or who lived in our more regional areas,” executive officer Sue Tasker said.
“COVID-19 made us have a leap of faith. We have travelled hundreds of kilometres delivering food to those who could not come to us. This has not been easy as we have had to use vehicles and eskies. This van will allow us to safely deliver food especially, as summer approaches.”
Feed Appeal CEO Katherine Gokavi-Whaley said these were just two examples of how this year’s grants would provide long-term benefits to the charities and the communities they support.
“The effects of a 47 per cent increase in the need for food relief and the economic fallout of COVID-19 have not been fully realised yet and equipping charities to cope for the next five years is critical,” Ms Gokavi-Whaley said.
“We don’t know how long it is going to take to get out of this.
“That is why the Feed Appeal is so important right now. It is not an emergency relief fund, it is about building the long-term capacity of frontline charities to feed more people and this year’s grants have done that.”
The Feed Appeal was co-founded by food relief charity FareShare and media group News Corp Australia.
This year it raised $1.5 million through Woolworths customers plus corporate and community donations.
The support of Newman’s Own Foundation means every dollar is donated back to charities in the state it was given in.
Woolworths chief marketing officer Andrew Hicks said: “Despite 2020 being a challenging year for all Australians, we’ve seen incredible generosity by Woolworths customers to help those experiencing hunger.
“Giving a little can go a long way, and the results of this year’s Feed Appeal is proof even in the toughest of times, Australians look out for each other.
“It’s heartening to see worthy charities get the support they need to continue helping vulnerable Australians, and we would like to thank our customers for their support in making this possible.”
Woolworths kickstarted their support of the Feed Appeal in stores in July with a $100,000 donation.
Kristen Moxey from Squeaky Gate olive oil, which supports the Rural Grants program, said regional and rural food relief charities were playing a vital role in a year when drought, bushfires, floods and coronavirus had affected many farming families.
“We are proud to play a small part in helping to alleviate food insecurity in rural communities. We have close ties to these communities as we partner with growers from around the country. Now more than ever we believe in supporting fellow Australians in need.”
FareShare chief executive Marcus Godinho said many Australians were experiencing hunger and food insecurity for the first time amid the economic impacts of coronavirus.
“Losing your job or even a few shifts a week can put tremendous pressure on household budgets and leave some people wondering how to pay bills and continue to feed themselves and their families,” he said.
“Charities across Australia are working overtime to help feed vulnerable people.
“No one should go hungry in Australia and these grants will help increase the capacity of charities to ensure they can help anyone who needs it.”
News Corp Australia‘s Community Ambassador Penny Fowler said: “We are delighted to support Feed Appeal again this year and hope that now, more than ever, we can make a difference and help feed struggling Australians.”
The Feed Appeal has raised $7.5 million since it began in 2009.
See all the grant recipients at www.feedappeal.org.au