HUNGRY families in South Australia have been helped with the donation of more than a million kilograms of fresh fruit and vegetables from South Australian growers.
Worth more than $2.5 million, the fruit and vegetables have been used by Foodbank SA to provide some 5 million meals across South Australia to families in need
South Australian Produce Market (SAPM), growers and wholesalers donate fresh fruit and vegetables every day which are then distributed across the Foodbank SA’s network of 550 welfare agencies and community groups.
More than 100 horticulture businesses work with Foodbank SA, donating produce either through the market or direct from the farm gate or packing shed.
The food is distributed to more than 85,000 marginalised South Australians each month - one third being children.
Foodbank SA chief executive officer, Greg Pattinson said the record result highlighted the benefits of working directly with produce suppliers, responding to the increasing need in the community.
“When we started this partnership, we were only receiving 100,000 kilograms as donations per year. To see annual fruit and vegetable donations hit 1 million kilograms annually is amazing,” Mr Pattinson said.
“It makes a significant difference to the support we can provide families who are struggling to put food on the table.
“We know South Australians have a shortage of fruit and vegetables in their diets. This program has enabled us to provide nutritious meals to some of South Australia's most vulnerable.
“It is important that families have balanced and nutritional options, given that around 7500 South Australians are going without each month.
“Getting the right food on the tables of vulnerable South Australians, particularly children, is our aim.”
The Foodbank SA partnership with the SAPM was an Australian first, with Foodbank Queensland now trialling a similar program.
SAPM chief executive officer, Angelo Demasi, said the one million kilograms of food was a major milestone for the 17 year partnership with Foodbank SA.
“In 2012 we embarked on vision to grow our annual 100,000kg of donated fresh fruit and veg to 1 million kilograms per annum by providing Foodbank a state-of the art refrigerated warehouse facility at the markets. We are delighted to have reached this millstone,” he said.
“This fresh produce milestone could not have been possible without the generosity of our growers and wholesalers who have made fresh fruit and vegetables available and the many South Australian transport companies that donate their freight.
“It is essential Foodbank SA continues to provide the community with food relief to people in need.
“It means so much to our industry to be able to give back to the community while ensuring their hard work does not end up in landfill.”