As part of Because's global commitment to giving back, each team member is offered two days a year to volunteer for a cause that's close to their hearts.
This year, the team in Australia decided to give back as a group by spending a day volunteering at the Foodbank NSW and ACT warehouse in Glendening.
With an estimated 3.6 million people across Australia reporting food insecurity over the past year alone, we were eager to contribute our time and energy to help make a difference.
As we arrived at the Foodbank warehouse, we were greeted by Luke, the volunteer coordinator. He explained that without the assistance of volunteers the Foodbank wouldn't function. Volunteers effectively take on the role that large machinery would usually play in a manufacturing line. If the food isn’t picked and packed, then the people in need would simply not receive it.
Large multinational companies, including the likes of Woolworths, McDonalds and Aldi, donate food to the Foodbank throughout the year. These donations total 37 million kilograms of food which otherwise would go to landfill.
These food donations feed close to 8 million people annually, 652,000 people a month or 163,000 a week - the numbers are truly breathtaking.
This food is especially important for children. Without these food donations, children facing food insecurity would go hungry, massively impacting their development. Hunger in children can cause them to lose sleep, become agitated, have more tantrums and be unable to concentrate at school. Without donations from the Foodbank, thousands of Australian children would not progress in school, potentially jeopardising their futures.
After our chat with Luke, we were then taken into the warehouse where we were given our picking list and instructions on how to prepare our pallets for the delivery trucks.
Our team got straight on it and divvied out roles: Rachel was on the clipboard, relaying what we needed to pick, Kate was locating the food and I, the supposed muscle of the group, was pushing the trolley/lifting food products.
As we made our way around the warehouse, we started working up a real sweat - thankfully we also got to head into the chiller to cool off after hours spent picking orders. Thanks to our competitive nature, we were speeding around to get as many pallets packed as possible.
Each time we received a new location’s picking list, it got us thinking about the people we would be helping, whether it be a school, a church, community group or a charity. Once the products were picked and packed onto the pallet, we wrapped it up, stuck on the labels and used a trolley to take it to the loading dock.
Our competitive nature was evident when we put our orders forms into the reception for processing at the end of the day. We completed 3 more orders than most of the other groups, which equated to a two extra pallets! Though this wasn’t a competition with other groups, we were motivated to make the biggest impact we could in the time we had.
After we were done, Luke gave us a massive thank you and explained what we had achieved that day. He said the average load from all the teams equated to 67,000 meals. We couldn't believe how many meals we had helped put together. As a group, we felt a massive sense of achievement.
The pallets we made up would leave the depot that same day on an overnight delivery. It felt amazing knowing that the work we did would benefit people in need so immediately.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our day at the Foodbank and are keen to go back to help the team again. My colleague Rosie summed up the experience perfectly “It was very humbling to play a small part in such a big, important process, and to see just how much work goes into providing food to those in need. It makes you realise how lucky you are not to have to worry about affording food every day - and it makes you want to go back and help again.”
A big thank you to Foodbank NSW & ACT inviting us to come and volunteer for the day and for fighting hunger day in day out across Australia. It is a truly inspiring charity.
If you are keen to make a difference please sign up to give even just a day of your time, we promise you will enjoy it and be making a huge difference.