OzHarvest Sunshine Coast has been in overdrive for much of 2020, responding to the dramatic increase in demand for food from local residents with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since March, the food rescue organisation has seen a steep rise in food insecurity on the Coast, with demand for food increasing by over 50 per cent from pre-Covid-19 days.
Coordinator of OzHarvest Sunshine Coast, Michele Lipner said, “This year has been incredibly challenging for the organisation, as demand for our services increased significantly yet food donations could not even begin to keep up with requests for support. To address the shortfall in food rescue, OzHarvest nationally and locally took the unprecedented step of supplementing food rescue with food purchases.“
OzHarvest Sunshine Coast continues to purchase food to meet local demand and will do so at least through the first half of 2021.
Due to the generosity of the community in the form of donations and fundraising, local grants from Noosa Council and Unitywater, federal funding, and most recently the Woolworths Christmas Appeal, OzHarvest is well on its way to making a significant impact on addressing food insecurity throughout the Sunshine Coast and into the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
“Without the support of the local community, we would not be where we are today,“ Michele said.
“We have been blessed with a number of incredible gestures of giving. Local businessman John Jamieson recently donated a new Toyota Hiace van to OzHarvest Sunshine Coast – bringing our local fleet to two vans on the Coast. Already and in one month, that van has driven over 1,300 km distributing rescued and purchased food to our charities.“
In addition, local community fundraising efforts of the Birdies and Tuesday Ladies Golf Groups of Peregian Springs as well as the support of Thomas Corner Eatery will allow OzHarvest Sunshine Coast to deliver the equivalent of over 5,000 meals in the coming months to vulnerable community members.
The holiday season is a time of giving and sharing. For OzHarvest Sunshine Coast, that giving has had a profound impact on its ability to get food to people who are struggling to put food on their table in the lead up to Christmas and beyond.