Join the Food Fight and help feed more than half-a-million Aussies who don’t have enough to eat. How? Simply by shopping for some iconic household brands.
The Food Fight campaign during the month of August was launched by Australia’s largest food relief organisation, Foodbank, which is proudly supported by Flight Centre Foundation (FCF).
For every Food Fight product you buy this month, a food donation will be made to Foodbank to help fight hunger in Australia.
Products include: Kellogg’s breakfast cereals; Helga’s and Wonder White bread; SPC baked beans and spaghetti; Ardmona tomatoes; Primo Smallgoods; Moccona and Harris coffees; and Vetta Pasta.
And for the foodies out there, Foodbank has teamed up with six top chefs – Adam D’Sylva, Jerry Mai, Oliver Gould, Raymond Capaldi, Scott Pickett and Simon Moss – to create tantalising dishes out of these staples.
Chocolate mousse with cornflakes ice cream, anyone? How about coffee doughnuts with salted coffee crumbs?
Foodbank Business and Communications Manager Sarah Pennell describes the organisation as a bridge between the food industry and the charity sector.
“We basically see ourselves as the food pantry of the frontline charities,” Sarah says.
The organisation collects surplus food, as well as collaborating with industry to manufacture key staple foods. It also receives donations from public food drives.
“So through all these approaches, we collect about 30 million kilos of food a year and that enables us to provide the charities enough food for 40 million meals, which is about 110,000 meals a day,” she says.
And the recipients are not who you’d think. As Foodbank says, it’s not people on the street, it’s people in your street. Low-income families are the biggest group seeking food relief, including single parents.
The latest Foodbank Hunger Report shows that 516,000 Australians rely on food relief from Foodbank’s 2,800 agencies each month, but there is a shortfall, with another 60,000 a month who cannot be assisted.
FCF General Manager Anita Russell says the company supports Foodbank because “food insecurity is a hidden problem in Australia”.
“Because they are the pantry to so many organisations around the country, Foodbank can touch people experiencing food insecurity at a basic level. And when it comes down to it, so many Flight Centre people are parents and want to make sure that people, particularly kids, are eating three meals a day – people shouldn’t worry where their next meal is coming from in the 'Lucky Country', that’s for sure.”
In the 2014/15 financial year, FCF’s support came in the form of $170,000 to fund UHT milk for Foodbank. That equated to 956,000 litres of milk, or 4.78 million serves that went into charity hampers and kitchens, as well as to Foodbank’s school breakfast program, and farmers.
FCF has committed $200,000 for UHT milk this financial year.
Foodbank’s Sarah says Flight Centre is a very significant partner. In fact, the company won its partnership award last year.
“Flight Centre’s a wonderful partner – we love Flight Centre,” she says.
“Flight Centre is responsible for ensuring that we have long-life milk, which is particularly important when it comes to providing emergency food hampers – you can’t have any fresh product that might go off if it’s not refrigerated, so it’s also very important for all our rural and regional charities.”
But it’s not just about the money, she says.
“Flight Centre staff are the most enthusiastic and active corporate employees we have. They are constantly fundraising, food driving, doing challenges – food hamper challenges – they’re just amazing. They interweave Foodbank into so many of their activities, it’s fantastic.”
At Flight Centre’s global conference in Las Vegas last month, staff volunteered to pack 5,500 Kids Cafe meals for children through Three Square, Foodbank’s counterpart in that city.
FCF also matches employee donations dollar for dollar under its workplace giving program. Foodbank’s Sarah says that for every dollar donated by staff, “by the time it’s matched, we can feed a family of four”.
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World Food Day
Foodbank encourages individuals and organisations to hold food drives for World Food Day on October 16. Popular food drive items include: meals in a can; pasta; rice; evaporated milk; canned vegetables; canned fruit; cereal; canned soup and baby food.
Each year, Foodbank conducts research into food security in Australia. In May, it published its Hunger in the Classroom report, which found that, on average, three students per classroom were regularly arriving hungry in the morning.
Teachers estimate that more than half of these children experience learning difficulties or exhibit behavioural problems, and lose more than two hours a day of learning time.
Next May, Foodbank will release its new Hunger Report.
Foodbank is finalising its 2015-16 Key Staples program, where it works with the food industry to manufacture essential items, such as breakfast cereals, pasta and sauce, and tinned fruit and vegetables.
Last year, Flight Centre Foundation provided $50,000 to fund the manufacture of pasta sauce, as part of the Key Staples program.
“It’s a really simple, hot, sustainable meal, and we know how Aussies love their spag bol,” Foodbank’s Sarah says.
If you want to help provide hunger relief for Aussies in need, here’s how:
- Make a gift to the Flight Centre Foundation. All of FCF’s operating costs are covered by Flight Centre Travel Group, maximising the impact of your donation. Donations support Foodbank and similar key programs at the foundation’s five other charity partners.
- Make a gift directly to Foodbank to help fight food insecurity.
Become a Food Fighter
Join the Food Fight in August by buying specially marked grocery products. And sign up to become a Food Fighter on the Foodbank website to learn more about upcoming Food Fight missions.
Hold a food drive
Do as Flight Centre does, and hold a food drive. Flight Centre staff hold food drives around the country at various times, including Christmas, winter, or just when Foodbank supplies run low.
For example, in February, FCm Travel Solutions offices held a Can Castle competition, where they had to create a castle out of food drive items (the Sydney office was the winner). It resulted in 4,764 items of food, which translated to 2,900 meals or three meals a day for a family of four for 241 days, via Foodbank.
Check the Foodbank website for great tips on creating a food drive of your own.