A three-year commitment to support the Port Macquarie chapter of OzHarvest will ensure more Hastings locals won't go without a nutritious meal.
The volunteer-run food rescue service, which collects 10,000 kilograms of produce every month from local supermarkets, bakeries, butchers and regional farmers, has big plans for Sovereign Hills' $45,000 pledge.
"OzHarvest helps feed the needy in our community and saves good quality produce from landfill," Port Macquarie chapter coordinator Linda Brettell explained.
"This financial support will enable us to continue to run our OzHarvest Port Macquarie refrigerated van with future prospects of upgrading to a modern economical van which will enable us to reach further communities.
"We're finding our current van is costly on fuel and just too small for our needs."
The rescued produce is delivered to local soup kitchens, youth and womens' refuges and charities which prepare food parcels to feed an estimated 700 Port Macquarie and Wauchope locals in need every week.
Lewis Land Group's chief executive officer Chris Calvert said Sovereign Hills was delighted to build an ongoing relationship with OzHarvest.
"OzHarvest's army of volunteers work tirelessly to save quality food from landfill while feeding Hastings locals; this is such a win/win for our community," Mr Calvert stated.
"We are passionate about helping those who are less fortunate in our community. We hope our support for OzHarvest inspires others to donate either financially or their surplus produce.
"We've also committed $45,000 to OzHarvest's Gold Coast Chapter in conjunction with our Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre which takes the total to $90,000 across both sites over three years."
The Port Macquarie Chapter food rescue van conducts 110 produce pickups and deliveries each week and is often on the road from sunrise to sunset.
"People don't often see this but there are a lot of homeless people living in Port Macquarie and Wauchope. There are many more living right on the poverty line and we've noticed these numbers have increased, particularly over the past couple of months," added Mrs Brettell.
"Electricity costs and the price of food have gone up and this has put pressure on local charities including OzHarvest because we supply to these charities. There are 30 charities which rely heavily on us for produce; without it they wouldn't be able to help those in need."
To continue their vital work, OzHarvest survives on grants and donations. If you would like to support the Port Macquarie Chapter you can contact Linda Brettell on 0438 435 034 or donate online at www.ozharvest.org/port-macquarie/