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(L-R): Kim Williams (Community Co-Op coordinator), Luke Harris (Co-CEO Harris Farm), Cam Wall (Council Community Services) and Olivia Penner-Dilworth (OzHarvest).
Northern Beaches Council is working with local fresh food supplier Harris Farm and local community groups to distribute 100 boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables every weekday to vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Recent bulk panic buying has impacted access to food stores for charities such as Oz Harvest and Community Co-op, who provide an important link in the supply of food across the Northern Beaches.
The Salvation Army, Link Church Community Food Care, Grace City Church Foodcare, St Faith's Church Narrabeen – who run a program called the Community Pantry – as well as women’s shelters and other community groups help put food on the table for countless local residents.
Staff from Council's Community Services team and local fresh food suppliers Harris Farm came up with the idea when they were discussing the recent cancellation of a youth basketball event the two organisations were partnering on.
Council has helped organise the volunteer community groups that will pack the boxes and manage deliveries, including Oz Harvest, Foodbank, local churches and a pool of local volunteers.
Harris Farm is supplying the product which is moved from a nearby community centre where the packing takes place.
Mayor Michael Regan said the gesture from the Harris Farm staff is a terrific example of the Northern Beaches community pulling together in testing times.
“Many people will be doing it tough over the coming months and every little bit will help those in need.
“Hats off to Luke Harris and his hardworking staff, the donation of 100 boxes of food each day ongoing will be welcomed with open arms.
“It was great that Council’s Community Services was able to facilitate getting the food out through Meals on Wheels as well as important distribution services like Oz Harvest and Community Co-op so it gets to the right people quickly,’’ the Mayor said.
Council is also working on a broader program to help local community organisations support their clients through the coming months. Work is underway to establish the needs of high priority organisations such as homeless and domestic violence shelters.
Community members may be called on to volunteer and support this program in other ways, once established. If you would like to be involved, please register your interest by emailing: CommunityDevelopment@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au