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Man serving food

Each week day, two refrigerated vans are making their way across the region rescuing and delivering food to disadvantaged people.

Traveling to North Coast supermarkets and collecting food that would have otherwise gone to landfill, the vans bring these items back to communities in Evans Head, Grafton, Kyogle, Mullumbimby and Nimbin as part of the Food Recovery North Coast project run by the  Consortium of Neighbourhood Centres – Far North Coast (CONC).

Food Recovery Coordinator Michelle Burns said since the project commenced in July last year, they’ve rescued close to 54 tonnes of food products.

“We’ve done around 60,000kms already – it’s incredible the amount of people we’ve been able to feed. We couldn’t have done this without the support of our sponsors,” Ms Burns said.

“Funding from the NSW Environmental Trust covered the cost of the vans and kitchen infrastructure, plus a $19,800 grant from the ETC Community Support Fund will support the operation and maintenance of the vans for the next financial year (servicing, maintenance, on-road operational costs).”

The Mullumbimby community in particular has seen a positive change with an increase in people’s overall health and wellbeing.

“Initially we had a community lunch here just one day per week which quite often was just a pot of boiled vegetables, as we didn’t have a lot to choose from. We wanted to improve the service so our Centre consorted with other Centres across the region for the Food Recovery Program,” said Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre Volunteer Mel Williams

“Since that was implemented, we’ve been able to dramatically increase the number of people we’re feeding (now between 50-80), lunch has gone from just one pretty average lunch to a gourmet lunch four days a week.”

“We would have to call ambulances quite often in past years due to malnutrition, whereas this year we’ve only had to call them once. Businesses in the local area have also said they’ve noticed a big change in what goes on in their shops. I love the joy I’m seeing from people – eating together and eating well.”

For more information about Food Recovery North Coast visit www.foodrecovery.org.au or www.facebook.com/foodrecovery.org.au/ 

ETC Deputy Chair Lorraine Penn said it was a pleasure to be able to support Mid Richmond Neighbourhood Centre Inc.

“The ETC Community Support Fund is designed to help organisations reduce disadvantage, generate opportunity, increase support services and/or build capacity in the communities in which we operate,” Ms Penn said.

“ETC is proud to be a not-for-profit company and we are confident the money we are donating will help make a more positive future for our community.

The next round of the ETC Community Fund opens again in March 2019.

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