Today in Parliament House Canberra, Foodbank recognised the outstanding contributions of Australian food companies in helping to fight hunger in the community.
This year’s awards celebrated what Foodbank and the food industry are able to accomplish together and acknowledged the outstanding individual contributions that make possible the everyday work of the largest food relief organisation in the country.
The awards were presented at the Australian Food and Grocery Council Industry Leaders Forum by Senator Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, to organisations that helped to raise the awareness of food insecurity, provide more key staple products and build the infrastructure required to get the food to where it is needed.
Speaking at the event, Foodbank Australia’s Chair, Tony Froggatt, said: “We ask a lot of our food and grocery partners because we cannot achieve anything without them and unfailingly they answer the call. It’s always difficult to single out a few amongst our many partners, but I’m pleased to say the 2016 recipients are truly worthy of the accolades.”
The first award, for distinguished service in fighting hunger, went to the Australian fresh produce industry for doubling donations of fresh fruits and vegetables in the last five years in spite of difficult times including industry volatility, adverse weather events and a tough economic environment.
Responding to the award Simon Bolles, CEO of AUSVEG, said: “Our growers feel passionately about what they produce and ensuring that all Australians are well-nourished. Working with Foodbank to ensure that no fresh produce goes to waste makes perfect sense.”
The second award went to the Flight Centre Foundation for conspicuous gallantry in supporting the Foodbank Key Staples Program. Coupled with matching funds from the Foundation itself, the staff of the Flight Centre group of companies have rallied to donate enough money to fund the entire long life milk program ensuring sustainability of supply of this vital product. Always enthusiastic to help wherever they can, Flight Centre employees also do additional fundraising and hold food drives to assist in times of emergency. In addition to volunteering in the warehouse, they pack hampers and participate in food drive challenges.
Speaking on receipt of the award John Whateley, Chair of the Flight Centre Foundation, said: “Working with Foodbank provides us with a great opportunity to tap into the boundless enthusiasm and energy of our people to achieve something valuable for the community. There is nothing they cannot achieve when they set their minds to it!”
The third award, for helping to illuminate the issue of hunger, went to Wiley for its contribution to the success of the Foodbank Hunger Report. This annual report is the spearhead of Foodbank’s campaign to raise awareness of the issue of food insecurity in Australia and has become the definitive reference on the issue, valued by the food relief sector, government and researchers. This is in no small part due to the composition and design undertaken by Wiley’s in-house team which makes a complex topic compelling and easy to understand.
Managing Director, Tom Wiley, said: “The thousands of people and families who go hungry on a daily basis throughout Australia need our support. The Wiley team is always seeking to make a difference and find a better way to reduce food wastage with our clients, Foodbank and the broaders food industry.”
The award for outstanding contribution through infrastructure support went to Lotterywest for being an outstanding partner to Foodbank Western Australia since 1994. Over the last five years Lotterywest has provided support for three major infrastructure projects for FBWA – new warehouses at Kalgoorlie and Geraldton, as well as the new state-of-art facility at Foodbank Perth. All in all this represents a commitment of over $10 million by Lotterywest.
On receiving the award Jacquie Thomson, General Manager of Grants and Community Development at Lotterywest, said: “We know collecting and distributing food for over half a million Australians a month is no easy task, but it’s a critical one. It requires commitment and serious resources. Lotterywest is pleased to be able to assist Foodbank Western Australia to meet this challenge of achieving the greatest reach so we can ensure food relief gets to those who need it most.”
Finally, the Foodbank Rookie of the Year went to two recipients – Thomas Foods International and Fletcher International Exports. These two companies have helped Foodbank gain access to more vital protein by increasing the Foodbank meat program threefold. From the beginning of this year they’ve committed to providing lamb trim which has been turned into 800,000 sausages.
David McKay, Chief Operating Director of Thomas Foods International, commented on receiving the award: “One can’t learn about Foodbank’s work without wanting to play a part in helping them to achieve their goal of fighting hunger. We are pleased to be able to contribute to providing such an essential food.”
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