WATERLOO: A former local grocery store in the Waterloo Estate has been transformed into a food relief market to support the vulnerable community in inner-Sydney.
OzHarvest Market Waterloo was launched in late July as part of OzHarvest’s new emergency services to address the drastic rise in demand for food relief.
OzHarvest Founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn AO, said the new market has been made possible thanks to wonderful partnerships with City of Sydney and NSW Land and Housing Corporation to take over a long-term lease at the site and serve the local community.
“The impact of COVID-19 has seen food relief hit an all-time high, with so many men, women and children experiencing food insecurity for the first time ever in their lives. OzHarvest is committed to feeding as many people as possible and has expanded its services, beyond the usual food rescue operations to offer new emergency food relief.
“We know the importance of providing a nourishing meal. It’s more than just food. It means that families who are struggling will be able to take stronger steps to rebuild their lives during this pandemic.”
Once a week throughout June and July, OzHarvest ran a “pop up” Hamper Hub, which distributed 600 bags of free groceries and pre-cooked meals to local residents. This trial confirmed the need for the new “take what you need, give if you can” market, which is open from Friday-Monday, 10 am to 2 pm, at 95 Wellington Street, Waterloo.
Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, said the City of Sydney (CoS) had identified access to food as a significant issue early in the pandemic and part of its emergency response provided OzHarvest with a $1 million donation to help support vulnerable communities.
OzHarvest’s volumes of rescued food had fluctuated dramatically during the pandemic, she said, forcing the organisation to purchase food for the first time in 16 years to help meet the increased demand.
This is why the CoS had launched a fundraising campaign urging the community to dig deep and help OzHarvest, Ms Moore said.
The pandemic has seen OzHarvest introduce a range of new emergency food relief services including; regular weekly Hamper Hubs for international students, a mobile market distributing food to regional and bushfire affected communities and pre-cooked meals by OzHarvest chefs and external hospitality partners.
Ms Kahn said the fundraising appeal, alongside the City’s $1 million donation, will help OzHarvest to expand its food rescue operations and offer emergency food relief to enable people to take steps to rebuild their lives during the pandemic.
“This problem is not going away and support is needed to keep our wheels turning and make sure we continue to get food to those who need it most.”
Donations to the City of Sydney/OzHarvest Food Relief Appeal can be made online at www.feedsydney.com