FARMERS harvesting promising winter crops can play their part in providing vital food supplies to the hungry by donating a portion of their harvest to Foodbank – the nation’s largest food relief organisation helping to feed vulnerable Australians.
Foodbank program manager – national food, Jacqui Payne, said demand for food relief across Australia had increased by 47 per cent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With COVID, we have seen a dramatic spike as soon as the shutdown period started and people were instantly out of work. Then, over the months since March there has been a 47 per cent increase in the number of people seeking assistance,” she said.
“There is a trend that a lot of people seeking assistance have never sought food assistance before due to the challenges of this year.”
Ms Payne said farmers and traders had a unique opportunity to make a significant difference this harvest by donating grain to the Foodbank Grain Program.
“We are working with the whole food supply chain, particularly in the ag space, with the Grain Program that feeds directly through to our food and pasta collaborative supply program,” she said.
“Foodbank has its own National Grower Register (NGR) number. We encourage donations of any grain type, variety or grade through our NGR.
“Donations of grain to our Foodbank NGR are traded out with the support of GrainCorp and Emerald Grain. 100 per cent of the value of your grain donation is combined with other donated inputs and manufacturing support to produce essential cereal and pasta.
“Foodbank then distributes these pantry staples to vulnerable Australians needing help. At the end of the day, for the equivalent of every dollar donated to the Foodbank Grain Program, you are helping to provide $8 worth of food to someone in need.”
Ms Payne said the program had on-the-ground impact and involved the support of people and businesses right along the supply chain, from farmers and traders donating any type or grade of grain, to manufacturing partners donating the production time.
“It’s thanks to this generosity that we can turn a donation of half a tonne into 12,000 serves of cereal,” she said.
This collaboration results in locally manufactured products being delivered through Foodbank’s network of frontline charity partners all over the country. More than 40pc of Foodbank’s food relief goes directly into rural, regional and remote communities.
“I am so happy to see there are headers running around already and that there is a promising harvest,” she said.
“Any support, either financial or grain donations, from anyone or organisation right across the supply chain would be very much appreciated. It translates to food being distributed back into rural and regional communities as well.”
Ms Payne said Foodbank and the people it served relied on the pasta and cereal products generated from the program all year round.
“In addition, the cereal is also used in our school breakfast programs, and both are essential to Foodbank’s disaster relief efforts in response to fires, drought, floods, and the upcoming cyclone season across our north,” she said.
Foodbank’s grain donation target this season is a total of 1300 tonnes to the organisation’s NGR. This will mean Foodbank can provide pasta and cereal all year round for families struggling to put food on the table.
Ms Payne said getting involved was easy.
“Just quote the Foodbank NGR number 13319395 to your grain handler/trader and nominate the volume of grain you would like to donate. If you would like to receive a tax donation receipt, you can email the Foodbank team at [email protected],” she said.
“We are extremely grateful for the new and ongoing efforts and support from the farming community.”