With many Australians currently living in lockdown, the prevalence of food insecurity in the community is increasing. Almost a third of Australians experiencing food insecurity in 2020 had never faced it before COVID-19 (Foodbank Hunger Report 2020). Casual workers and international students are just two of the groups who are unable to access food for the first time. As demand increases, charities offering food support are working even harder to provide pantry staples, fresh produce and cooked meals to those in need.
This give list provides a range of organisations working directly to support those experiencing food insecurity during the current crisis.
Although the following entities are known to APS, we do not conduct a detailed analysis of their financial position and governance before their inclusion in this list. This is not an exhaustive list of the many not-for-profit organisations working in this space.
FareShare runs Australia’s largest charity kitchens in Melbourne and Brisbane cooking rescued and donated food into 50,000 free nutritious meals every week for people in need. It rescues fresh produce from supermarkets, manufacturers, farmers, wholesale businesses and Foodbank Queensland to divert quality surplus produce from going to waste. The small team of chefs and 1500 community volunteers cook homestyle meals including roasts, casseroles, pastas, savoury pastries, and plenty of ‘meat-and-three-veg’ options for hundreds of charities across Australia including soup vans, homeless shelters, women’s refuges and community food banks.
Foodbank provides more than 40 million kilograms of food annually for its networks of 2,400 charity partners and 2,000 schools nationally. COVID-19 lockdowns have created an extraordinary increase in demand for emergency food relief. Foodbank has gone from packing 1,250 hampers a week to packing up to 3,500 per day to try to keep up with demand.
Foodswell aims to create change by building effective partnerships to deliver outcomes that improve people’s diets, health and wellbeing and that assist remote, rural and urban Australians. It initiates, endorses and delivers creative projects, programs and enterprises that help build the capacity of individuals and communities to access healthy, reliable, sustainable food and prevent disease. Foodswell undertakes research, education and related activities to address challenges to the diversity and sustainability of food systems and the cultural, economic and environmental integrity of the resources that healthy people and communities rely upon.
Moving Feast is a collaborative initiative by Victoria’s social enterprises joining forces to create a pandemic food response that creates justice, sustainability and resilience. Conservative estimates predict that over 10% of the population will be in need of emergency food assistance over the coming months. The demand could be over 250,000 meals a week. Social enterprises are involved in farming, food relief and rescue, distribution, training and education. They are also major employers and service providers. Supporting this initiative offers benefits across all of these areas.
The One Box
The One Box program is an initiative that provides Australian families in need with a free weekly box full of fresh fruit, veggies, milk and bread over the full school year. They are on track to deliver at least 60,000 boxes in 2021. With an unprecedented number of Australians experiencing food insecurity since COVID-19, The One Box is also looking for ways to expand access to affordable fresh produce to more people in the community. The Fresh Food Project supports charities, councils and community groups across Australia by providing access to affordable, high-quality fresh produce and staples boxes at approximately 50% off the recommended retail value.
OzHarvest is Australia’s leading food rescue organisation, collecting quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivering it directly to more than 1,400 charities supporting people in need across the country. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, OzHarvest has been recognised as an emergency relief service. Working closely with a network of charitable and industry stakeholders, OzHarvest also supports those most impacted by the pandemic, including regional and remote communities, international students and vulnerable individuals unable to access food during lockdown periods. OzHarvest is on a mission to make sure good food does not go to waste, ensuring the true value of food is recognised. In addition to diverting quality surplus food to those in need, OzHarvest delivers multiple food literacy programs and campaigns to educate on the importance of nutritious food and the importance of not wasting it. Through these initiatives, OzHarvest works to provide solutions to the problem of food waste, helping to reach the national target of halving food waste by 2030.
SecondBite exists to provide access to fresh, nutritious food for people in need across Australia. They do this by rescuing and redistributing surplus fresh food. In the 2019 financial year, SecondBite rescued and redistributed 19 million kilograms of fresh nutritious food, enough to provide 38 million healthy meals. This equates to more than 104,000 meals per day. They supply over 1300 community food programs with food, supporting people who are homeless, women and families in crisis, youth at risk, Indigenous communities, long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, asylum seekers and new arrivals.
SmartMeals was established in March 2020 as an emergency response to COVID-19, providing nutritious meals for people impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, while also keeping hospitality workers in jobs. They continue to provide ready-made meals to vulnerable people, made by food-based social enterprises. Food security remains a challenge for many people unexpectedly made unemployed through COVID-19, and for people who were previously experiencing poverty and homelessness. Social enterprises cafes were hit hard by COVID and these partnerships are helping them rebuild, providing training to their vulnerable staff.
Last updated 15 October 2021