In Australia, roughly 140kg of food per person goes to landfill each year. According to Australian Ethical, this is “enough waste to fill 450,000 rubbish trucks which, stretched end to end, would bridge the gap between Australia and New Zealand just over three times”. However, millions of Australians struggle to put food on the table for themselves and their families each day.
Thankfully, there is a local initiative here in Perth founded to support the needy within our community and reduce the amount of preventable food waste. Feed it Forward is a network of people who are devoted to supporting their communities and helping those in need. These selfless volunteers are wholly dedicated to gathering perfectly edible food, which would otherwise be headed for landfill, and distribute it to WA families in need. On a weekday, a Feed It Forward volunteer can help an average of 35 families, which on a weekend rises to over 60 families; one particular volunteer recently fed 86 families in one afternoon.
It all started a few years ago when a group of grandmothers, who had relocated to Perth from New Zealand, got together and started to meet regularly with their grandchildren. On one such occasion, these women decided to do something big for their community. These ladies, now aptly named ‘Nan’s on a mission’ created a small initiative called ‘Feed it Forward’ whereby they collected unwanted food from a Coles store in Baldivis, and distributed it to those in need. Now, 2 and a half years later, the movement has grown dramatically and is helping hundreds of thousands of needy people in and around Perth.
Feed it Forward is not just about helping people, but it is also about protecting our environment and saving so much food from landfill. More than 90% of the food that is intercepted, is delivered to daycares, churches, schools, soup kitchens, shelters and more. Partnering with Second Bite, a charitable organisation aligned with Coles, Feed it Forward now has over 210 volunteers and collects food from 64 different supermarkets across Perth. Head Coordinator, Monica Morunga, says “I rely on these volunteers to distribute the food amongst their communities because they’re the ones that live there. They know where they need it”.
Faithful volunteers collect from local stores, filling trailers and cars, and doing several trips before displaying the food beautifully at their homes. They then open their doors and welcome the public to bring shopping bags and take what they need. “We just want to share it, you know. At the end of the day we’ve all been to the bottom of the barrel and so I’m just able to come in and do this and share with the people, share with the community, help the community out” says one volunteer.
There are now 13 volunteers spanning across suburbs such as Quinns Rocks, Merriwa, Butler, Alkimos, Yanchep and Two Rocks alone, and even more further South. The program aims to reach as far out as possible in the hope of helping more and more families.
If you or someone you know is struggling, if money is a bit tight, or if you’re just looking for an alternative to lighten the load, head to one of these friendly volunteers homes and help yourself, no judgments.
To find your nearest Feed it Forward volunteer, simply head to the ‘Feed it Forward Maori Stylz WA’. Likewise, if you are a business wanting to become a donor partner to this incredible initiative, head to Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org