Residents help deliver bumper ‘harvest’

June 8, 2016

Collecting food that is no longer ok to sell but still ok to eat, and then distributing it to people who really need it is a great aspiration, but a logistical challenge.  Fortunately it’s one that Foundation Housing and OzHarvest are mastering with the recipients of the food themselves playing a big part in making the process possible.

OzHarvest is a not-for-profit organisation that rescues quality surplus food from commercial outlets and delivers it free of charge, to charitable agencies like Foundation Housing’s Hampton Road lodging house.  About 195 people live in lodging style accommodation at Hampton Road and most get by on an income of about $120 per week after paying their rent and utilities. Access to a range of free, fresh and nutritious produce can make a big difference to easing their cost of living pressure.

The size of Hampton Road means it’s an ideal centre for OzHarvest to distribute the food they collect, however, managing a fair and orderly weekly distribution session was a big ask of the small team of staff involved. Enter some of the residents themselves who are now volunteering to be on a roster each week to help unpack, organise and supervise a ‘first in, best dressed’ fresh food collection from the Hampton Road commercial kitchen.

Hampton Road resident Corey has been volunteering to distribute the produce for a number of weeks and says he enjoys helping out and that it gives him something to do.  Another volunteer, Bear, says he thinks it’s good for residents to take charge and be involved in the roster because it gives them a ‘say in the place’ that is their home.  John, who has helped out on a number of Hampton Road projects observed that his fellow residents are very considerate and respectful of the process that has evolved over a number of months.

OzHarvest WA State Manager, Jennifer Keen said it was great to partner with Foundation Housing at Hampton Road to help feed those in need and to hear that recipients were taking an active role in the distribution process was really encouraging.

“Foundation Housing has been instrumental in helping us to fulfil our purpose to nourish our country and to provide nutritious and quality food to those in need. It is great to be able to make a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of the local community,” Ms Keen said.