The art of GIVING is the art of LIVING
OzHarvest Sunshine Coast is doing its part to help feed vulnerable community members in the Sunshine Coast while at the same time reducing the amount of food that finds its way into landfill. We are proud to be part of an initiative that seeks to lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate and at the same time do our part to help protect the environment.
We caught up with Michele, Chapter Coordinator of OzHarvest Sunshine Coast.
Q: Where does the food go once it’s collected?
A: We distribute non-perishables to our recipient partners up and down the Coast including: schools, churches, community centres, charities and programs aimed at helping vulnerable community members.
Q: Who do the donations help?
A: The non-perishables we receive from the generous patrons at Noosa Civic ends up being used to create meals for local community members (e.g. at schools, community centres etc.) in need or is handed out as emergency relief hampers to people who are doing it rough (e.g. via Vinnies, Salvos etc.). It ends up helping a wide variety of people – the homeless, elderly pensioners, people struggling with substance abuse, victims/survivors of domestic violence, single headed households, children, families who are financially stretched.
Q. Why OzHavest?
A: I started the local OzHarvest Sunshine Coast chapter in August 2014. I did it because I had heard of OzHarvest previously and believed strongly in its ethos of helping address local food security AND keeping food out of landfill. Furthermore, I had identified that there was a need for such a program on the Coast, and felt like it was my small way of helping make a difference in my community. Professionally in the past I was involved in international aid and development programs with the UN and NGOs and felt that I brought a skill set that could help make the program get off the ground and flourish. I would like to think that is exactly what has happened. When we started, we were quite small – 3 volunteers, 4 food donors and 3 charities – from Noosa to Coolum. We are now all the way from Gympie down the coast into Caloundra and the Sunshine Coast hinterland – and have over 85 volunteers, up to 40 agencies we support and about 30-35 food suppliers who donate food to us. I think that is a great accomplishment and it is because of all the volunteers that we have been able to achieve so much.
We also spoke to the lovely Sarah, who does the pick up at Noosa Civic
My time with OzHarvest is on a volunteer basis and for me, this is my opportunity to give back to the local community in a way that I know is:
- Helping locals in need, immediately
- All donations collected stay within the area
- Raising awareness of the needs on the Coast that most are unaware of [we live in such an affluent area yet still so many are struggling]
I began volunteering over a year ago when I heard Michele talk at my daughter’s school.. and one thing she said stuck out at me – 20% of kids on the coast go to bed hungry.
As a [then] single mother, this hit me hard and it seemed like the most logical thing to me to help in some way, so I emailed OzHarvest the moment I got home.
For such a small window of time [2hrs a fortnight] I know my contribution is invaluable to the running of the Sunshine Coast chapter of OzHarvest.
Help feed Australian in Need
Donations may be made at the Community Pantry located inside Noosa Civic Shopping Centre near Woolworths at the “Community Pantry”.
Acceptable foods are non-perishable foods (canned protein, vegetable and fruits, Pasta, Rice and Cereals, Long Life products, Tea, Coffee, Biscuits, Nuts & Dried Fruits), and non-food items (Toiletries, Personal Care and Hygiene). Items should be within their use by date and unopened.