Shepparton Foodshare celebrated its annual fundraising event ‘‘Make a Meal of June’’ in Mooroopna on Wednesday night, raising funds and awareness of the organisation’s efforts.
The community initiative rescues and receives donations of fresh fruit, vegetables and other groceries and redistributes the items to those in need across the Goulburn Valley.
Each month, Shepparton Foodshare saves about 10000kg of food waste from landfill and receives about 20000kg of donated items from regional organisations, farms and food producers.
They also rescue food from eight supermarkets and about 80 agencies collect from their warehouse in Mooroopna and disperse food to those in need.
With 21 volunteers putting in more than 120 hours, Shepparton Foodshare also empowers the community to become more interconnected.
Make a Meal of June is the organisation’s major fundraiser of the year, raising funds for general operational costs.
Organised for the second year, Shepparton Foodshare operations co-ordinator Bec Nicoll said the event was important for fundraising, but also connecting with the community.
‘‘We receive support from Greater Shepparton City Council and grants, but we rely on this dinner for major fundraising,’’ Ms Nicoll said.
Hosted at Bill + Beats on McLennan St, almost 100 guests were treated to a three-course meal, of which the first course was created from collected Foodshare items.
Each month of the year was auctioned off for $2000, ensuring the viability of Foodshare for that particular month.
Foodbank Victoria chief executive Dave McNamara spoke to guests about food insecurity, particularly in regional Victoria.
‘‘There are so many factors that can lead to food insecurity,’’ Mr McNamara said.
‘‘It is crucial to support the community.’’
Dakoda Pearson and Shaun Reece of Shepparton youth hub, The Haven, also spoke about the positive impact of Shepparton Foodshare.
‘‘The Foodshare helps make sure there is hot food for everyone as part of the after-school program,’’ Miss Pearson said.
‘‘About 25 to 50 people come for food and there are always snacks out the front as well.’’
The event raised more than $40000.