Foodbanking in Australia celebrates its 25th anniversary, aided by a little assistance from the transport industry.
Starting in NSW in 1992, and now a National Federation in all States, Foodbank grew to become involved with the provision of food to those in need. Today the organisation has grown to become independently capable of consistently supplying food to charities that in turn provide the end of chain support to Welfare Agencies who directly supply individuals in need.
In December 2015, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC, DSC (Ret’d), Governor of NSW and Patron of Foodbank NSW and ACT Limited(FBNA), officially opened a new warehousing facility for the organisation, which now forms the centre of the operation at Glendenning in Western Sydney.
Providing 7240 square metres of storage and warehousing space, with a 1000-pallet chiller refrigeration section, this purpose-built, brand-new facility grew as a result of funds donated by the NSW & ACT Government and the private sector to the organisation.
As testimony to the success of all state Foodbanks, the organisation in 2016 provided the necessary food chain to supply the components to create the equivalent of 60 million meals, distributed nationally through the 2500 charities that it supplies. For the FBNA operation, 50 percent of the recipients are in the Sydney metro area, 40 percent in NSW rural areas and the final 10 percent being in the ACT.
It is a sad indictment of a nation that prides itself on its ever-increasing sophistication and global importance that poverty continues to grow, irrespective of geographical location. The Foodbank Hunger Survey shows that 1 in 10 Australians need help sometime during the year and this covers low-income workers, the unemployed, the elderly and single-parent families are all given a helping hand, and, more importantly, food for their daily survival.
An increasing area of support is now provided nationally to many schools, where young children receive a basic breakfast every morning, ensuring they start the day well fed and ready to learn, when their own home situation does not cater for their needs.
The FBNA operation is almost epic by comparison with public expectation of the size of a charity that supplies food to those in need. In 2016, FBNA supplied 8000 tonnes of food supplies to registered charities, and this volume is expected to increase to 16,000 tonnes within the coming three to four-year period.
The food and supplies that flow into the Glendenning DC come from industry itself, including Food and Grocery Council members and retailers Coles, Woolworths, ALDI and IGA. These supermarkets, food wholesalers, farming operations and food manufacturers supply end-of-line products, those in over supply and vegetables that are surplus to general retail requirements, direct to FBNA.
These are then packaged and distributed by an extensive volunteer workforce using a truck fleet that was made possible by the generosity of companies involved in the Australian transport industry.
The design of the warehouse illustrates the intention of FBNA to be environmentally aware of its sustainability. The warehouse contains all the latest technology “smarts”, with low-voltage LED lighting powered completely through the day by solar panels. This points towards total control over the minimising of operating costs and illustrates the design capacity to cater for the estimated growth over the next 20 years. Completion of the warehouse facility was completed without a resultant debt, with all funds raised by the organisation.
Gerry Andersen, CEO of FBNA, explained that transport costs of around $800,000 each year were met by donations and funding, also made possible by the involvement of members of the transport industry.
The pride of the fleet consists of a Kenworth T409 8×4, which more recently was joined by a DAF CF85.460 8×4.
Supplied through local Kenworth and DAF dealership, Gilbert & Roach of Huntingwood, the project to supply the initial T359 came about by a chance discussion between FBNA and the executive teams of engine manufacturer Cummins, together with PACCAR Australia.
“The executive team of Cummins came on a company visit to learn about the FBNA network and subsequently offered their company’s assistance in starting off the project to supply a new truck,” said CEO Gerry Andersen.
“The project started gaining speed with further companies coming on board to join Cummins and Kenworth. These included DANA, Bridgestone, Alcoa, Vawdrey Trailers, PPG, Eaton, Rae-Line, DHollandia and Truck Moves. Additional supportive funding was supplied by the NSW Government and the NSW Environment Trust,” added Mr. Andersen.
Resplendent in its purple livery, the Kenworth T359 8×4 is powered by a Cummins ISLe5 engine available in a variety of power outputs ranging from 280 to 380 hp and with peak torque rating from 778 to 1254 lb-ft (1054-1700 Nm). The driveline is completed by either manual or automated manual transmissions manufactured by Eaton Vehicle Group.
In recent months the T359 has been joined in the fleet by a DAF CF85 460 8×4, which also features the same purple paint colour from supplier PPG. Powered by a 460 hp 13-litre, PACCAR MX 340 engine, it produces 460 hp at 1500-1900rpm with peak torque of 1700 lb-ft (2300 Nm) rated at 1000-1410 rpm.
Both these new additions to the FBNA fleet carry the flag for the organisation while also indicating through the signage on the vehicles the involvement and support provided by member companies of the transport industry.
It is a pertinent comment on our current society that while banking institutions talk of profit in billions of dollars, for many people living in Australia food has become a discretionary spend. After paying rent, electricity and transport, many low income families have very little left for food or clothing each month.
One “emergency bill” for health, car repair, sickness or loss of job often results in a family going hungry.
PowerTorque commends the companies that are currently supporting the Foodbank initiative. If your company is keen to sponsor the association, further details are available at www.foodbanknsw.org.au or contact Gerry Andersen at: firstname.lastname@example.org