OzHarvest was founded by advocate and activist Ronni Kahn AO in 2004 after noticing the huge volume of food going to waste. The not-for-profit organisation quickly grew to become Australia’s leading food rescue organisation with offices & warehouses in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle & Perth. They have a national target to halve food waste by 2023 and urge Australians to reconnect with the value of food.
My day on the road
I was sent out on the road for a donation run with driver Paul to experience a day in the life of an OzHarvest Driver. Paul is a well-respected and staple local community member and has been rescuing and delivering food for over 9 years. He finds joy and accomplishment in interacting with and fostering relationships with a wide range of recipient agencies, such as PCYC South Sydney, The Missionaries of Charity Sisters, Youth Centres, Women’s Refuges and many more.
Paul and I started off our busy day with pickup runs. OzHarvests collects all types of perishable & frozen food (including dairy, fish, meat, baked goods & produce), as long as they are fit for human consumption. Paul notes: “if I’d eat it, I’d donate it”. Pickup locations ranged from major Australian supermarket chains such as Woolworths to smaller independent organisations such as Bourke Street Bakery & The Hope Foundation. There, they sorted and organised produce to ensure that everything was up-to-scratch to be donated to the community.
Did you know? 7.6 million tonnes of food is wasted every single year. This destroys our environment and costs the economy a whopping $36.6 billion annually.
We then made our way to several recipient agencies to start the donation drop-offs. Our first stop was PYPC South Sydney, located on Elizabeth Street in the heart of Redfern. PCYC NSW is a charity delivering a wide array of youth services, providing support, education and activities to empower young people in underprivileged communities. In collaboration with NSW Police Youth & Crime prevention command, they offer a range of development programs giving young people the best opportunities to thrive.
The jam-packed day came to an end after a few more community & youth centres, as well as a visit to the OzHarvest Market in Waterloo. It was a truly enlightening experience for me to observe first-hand exactly how much good food goes to waste every day. I truly loved getting to know driver Paul and seeing how passionate he was about his job and the genuine joy and feeling of fulfilment he got out of helping people. OzHarvest has built an incredible and passionate community and we can’t wait to get more involved with the organisation in the near future.