AN investment of $45,000 has ensured the wheels of the OzHarvest community food project keep turning in Port Macquarie-Hastings.
Thanks to a generous donation from Sovereign Hills, Lewis Land Group's Port Macquarie master planned community, the food rescue vehicle will allow OzHarvest Port Macquarie to help even more people in need.
OzHarvest regional chapter coordinator, David Morris said the impacts of COVID-19 continue to be felt by countless Australians and local charities have experienced a huge rise in demand for food relief.
In Port Macquarie-Hastings, more than 175,000 meals have been delivered to vulnerable people this year alone and fir the first time, OzHarvest had to purchase food to top up supplies to meet demand.
"Thanks to Sovereign Hills, this new refrigerated yellow van will allow our local team to continue rescuing quality surplus food every day," Mr Morris said.
And so too will more volunteers. OzHarvest Port Macquarie is run by dedicated volunteers who collect and distribute food to 16 charities throughout the region from a network of 11 food donors.
Michael Long, Head of Development at Lewis Land Group, said Sovereign Hills is honoured to contribute to such a worthy community cause.
"During an extra challenging year for our community's most vulnerable, OzHarvest has not only delivered thousands of meals throughout the Port Macquarie region, but extended their food relief program to ensure more families receive a wholesome nutritious meal," Mr Long said.
"We hope the new refrigerated OzHarvest van makes this process more seamless for the many volunteers who are passionate about rolling out this crucial service."
CEO Matthew McCarron said services like OzHarvest are the "glue" in local communities.
"We are very proud to have a long standing relationship with OzHarvest around the country," Mr McCarron said.
"This is an additional piece of equipment which will help meet the growing demand of OzHarvest services. It is better equipped to service the local community.
"COVID has shown the important role grassroots community organisations play in times of crisis. Certainly that has been evident in the increase in demand for OzHarvest services."
Since its inception in 2011, OzHarvest Port Macquarie has delivered nearly two million meals to vulnerable community members.
To help OzHarvest continue supporting people in need, head to ozharvest.org to donate or volunteer.
For every $1 donated, OzHarvest is able to deliver two meals to individuals and families doing it tough.