Macarthur Food Rescue stops local families from going hungry

Dedicated volunteers: The folks from Macarthur Food Rescue deliver about 600 kilograms of unused food to needy families every week. Picture: Simon Bennett
Dedicated volunteers: The folks from Macarthur Food Rescue deliver about 600 kilograms of unused food to needy families every week. Picture: Simon Bennett

Every day across Macarthur edible food is thrown away and sent to landfill.

But one local organisation is doing its part to ensure that food ends up with the families who need it most.

Macarthur Food Rescue - an offshoot St Andrew's Anglican Church in Airds - is dedicated to delivering unwanted, yet perfectly edible, food to people across the area every week.

Founder Brian Willott said the rescue was born from a simple need.

"It all started in about 2008 or 2009, when someone came to our door at the church and asked if we had any food," he said.

"All we really had to offer was a teabag and a biscuit.

"So from there I started asking the congregation to bring in some food each week if they could, first a can of soup, then some protein then a sweet treat, things like that.

"A couple of years later I was visiting Waminda Bakery and I asked what happened to their day-old stock, whether we could give it to people in need.

"Everything sort of grew from there."

Mr Willott then arranged to pick up goods from two of the bakery's locations, and built up a strong pantry at the church to ensure people in need wouldn't go hungry.

Macarthur Food Rescue has continued to grow and is now partnered with two of Australia's biggest food reuse organisations: OzHarvest and Second Bite.

Mr Willott said he other the volunteers sort and deliver about 600 kilograms of food each week to roughly 50-60 families, primarily in the Airds area. Additional families receive food less frequently.

He said the recipients were typically very grateful.

"You don't get too many people turning you away," he said.

"Every little bit helps - nearly everyone is very appreciative and happy to see you."

Macarthur Food Rescue was a recipient of funds from Stockland's CARE Grants program this year, awarded by the developers of Willowdale and Macarthur Gardens.

Mr Willott said the grants were always a huge help to the organisation.

"We've gotten grants from them in the past that have been so hopeful," he said.

"The first one allowed us to purchase a laptop so we could keep accurate and up-to-date records for Macarthur Food Rescue, while the other grants have gone to fuel costs."

Other recipients of the CARE Grants funds this year (which totalled $286,000) were The Shepherd Centre, Autism Spectrum Australia, St Peter's Anglican Church Campbelltown and the Campbelltown Community Garden.

Mr Willott said Macarthur Food Rescue was an entirely volunteer-run organisation and was always on the look-out for new blood.

Any businesses with left-over food to donate, or active church members who can volunteer some driving time to deliver food, are encouraged to contact St Andrew's on 4625 1041.