The right way to supply assistance to charities across Australia includes operating Mercedes-Benz Sprinters.
Ronni Kahn is an amazing woman. Within the Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle, Adelaide and Brisbane areas, the not for profit organisation she heads and founded, called OzHarvest is responsible for supplying the equivalent of 10,000-13,000 meals every day from food that would otherwise go to waste!
Back in 2004, the year that OzHarvest was founded, the association distributed 13,000 meals to six different charities in its first month. And by Christmas this year, that number will have grown to 10,000,000 meals, now supplied nationally.
If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the left over food from buffets and banquets, here’s just one solution.
Ronni’s career as an Event Producer was probably an ideal background to starting the OzHarvest operation. As a not for profit association, OzHarvest collects excess food each day that’s surplus to requirements at hotels, cafés, delicatessens, supermarkets and many other food outlets.
Caterers, hoteliers, wholesalers, retailers and restaurant owners all telephone OzHarvest to arrange the collection of leftover food that’s surplus to need but prior to its best by date. Every day, the OzHarvest fleet of refrigerated vehicles, driven by drivers trained in food rescue, collect this perfectly good food and distribute it to local charities that in turn feed those in need.
As Ronni Kahn explained, it’s a win/win situation – to both the food donors who hate seeing good food go to waste as well as to the recipients in the charities that receive this food. At the same time, it’s also a huge bonus for the environment, reducing waste and landfill and helping to serve the community at the same time.
Ronni explains that OzHarvest is, in all essence, a transport and logistics company. When she founded OzHarvest she wanted to make a difference. Today, that difference has escalated to the provision of food equating to 330,000 meals per month, distributed to a total of 352 charities across Australia.
Through networking with colleagues, work associates, corporations and major suppliers, OzHarvest has built up an enviable group support network of corporate assistance that extends from food manufacturers through to other transport providers and transport specialists.
“We are particularly grateful to our corporate sponsors and these include the MacQuarie Group Foundation, GE Money, Goodman+, the Cross City Tunnel, Pickles Auctions, the Linfox Group, the Paul Newman Foundation, the Thyne Reid Foundation and many others as well as private donors.
“We are also particularly proud to have the assistance of the Mercedes-Benz Sydney Van Centre at Alexandria from whom we have just taken delivery of two new refrigerated Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans.
“Dealer principal Paul Betar suggested the Sprinter would be ideal for our needs and they couldn’t be more perfect. Fitted with insulated and refrigerated interiors, we have now taken delivery of two new Sprinters with automatic transmissions.
“The Sprinter has the capacity we need to expand and will form the basis of our fleet growth in future from the current level of 15 vehicles in service,” said Ronni.
The operation could never survive without the assistance of major corporations such as transport giant LinFox that provides all vehicle servicing requirements, Vittoria Coffee that provides fuel costs and other benefactors that provide office space or equipment, financial assistance and equipment. Even the T.V, show Masterchef enlists the aid of OzHarvest to collect surplus food after each day’s filming.
In conjunction with the provision of the ten millionth meal provided in Australia, OzHarvest is inviting members of the public to send in their favourite recipe from leftovers. The winning submissions will be collated for publication in the OzHarvest Cookbook, Ten Million Meals, which will be marketed in aid of the association in 2012.
OzHarvest is also the instigator of “nest”, Nutrition Education, Sustenance Training.
“It’s our aim to teach Australians in need how to nurture themselves with wholesome, nutritious food, cost effectively and easily,” said Ronni.
“Our course will teach local communities and upskill chefs, cooks, kitchenhands and volunteers working in the charitable agencies that provide meals to the homeless and disadvantaged,” she added.
The Motoring Matters Magazine is proud to support OzHarvest. Companies and individuals can donate online, telephone or mail a cheque. You can also buy a certificate for the family and friends. Every dollar that OzHharvest receives provides a meal to someone in need. All deductions over $2 are tax deductible.