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Queensland Government media release

A fresh food rescue organisation is set for a boost, thanks to a new refrigerated van funded through the Palaszczuk Government’s $2.5 million Dignity First Fund.

Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said OzHarvest Limited received $294,000 in the latest round of Dignity First funding launched by the government last year for four new refrigerated vans – in Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Brisbane.

“OzHarvest is a fantastic operation and they do great work in making sure that good quality food – which might otherwise be wasted – instead goes to people who really need it,” Mr Pitt said.

“But until now, OzHarvest hasn’t had a dedicated refrigerated vans.

“Instead, volunteers have been using their own vehicles and eskies, but this van will significantly increase capacity of their services from Cairns to Brisbane and make it easier for volunteers.

“Accessing fresh, nutritious food is difficult for people experiencing homelessness, and services like OzHarvest also support many other organisations to provide nutritious meals to people who need it.”

The OzHarvest Food Rescue Program is an established service run by OzHarvest Limited to collect quality excess food from commercial outlets such as fruit and vegetable markets, supermarkets, hotels, famers and corporate events and delivering it to charities helping those in need.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the Dignity First Fund was designed to encourage innovative, non-traditional ideas to help people experiencing homelessness through the hard times.

“The Fund has proven how much difference you can make with a good idea, a lot of heart and a little money,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Homelessness is a complex issue and while we work to find longer term housing solutions for people in these difficult situations, organisations like OzHarvest can provide a lot of practical support in the short term.

“Everyone has the right to live with dignity irrespective of the situation they may find themselves in.

“But with homelessness comes isolation and marginalisation. With the offer of a meal there is also an opportunity for people to interact socially, for them to engage and connect with others and to access the information and support they need.”

OzHarvest Cairns manager Jana Gorski has been operating the service in the far north for the last three years as a volunteer operating from her own home.

“Keeping food cool during the transportation process has been one of our most difficult challenges given that we’ve just been using a ute and loading eskys in the back, so this announcement is very exciting,” she said.

“Demand for our services continues to grow and I’m thrilled to be getting government support to service even more clients.

“Our specially designed refrigerated van is under construction right now, so we can’t wait for that to arrive, and we are currently in the process of leasing a commercial premises to establish a dedicated headquarters for OzHarvest to grow.”

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