Res­cu­ing re­jects for re­use

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Belmont South Perth - Jaime Shurmer

A KNOB­BLY mis­shapen cu­cum­ber, still firm and fresh, is over­looked again and again by week­end shop­pers un­der the bright lights of a su­per­mar­ket.

Even­tu­ally tossed into a box for dis­posal, it is among the 2000kg of fresh but oth­er­wise un­wanted pro­duce.

Th­ese goods are col­lected by paid Food Res­cue driv­ers, who fill their re­frig­er­ated trucks from the load­ing docks of Perth’s Coles.

The fruits, vegetables, eggs and meat spend Mon­day night in the cool rooms of a Bel­mont ware­house.

On Tues­day morn­ing, vol­un­teers like Al­fred Cove’s Pene­lope Jack­son ar­rive to sort the good from the bad and repack boxes to the spe­cific needs of Food Res­cue’s 62 char­i­ties.

She trims wilted leaves from firm beet­roots, re­moves a soft edge from a wa­ter­melon and adds vegetables to the box that now houses that blem­ished cu­cum­ber.

“I used to work as a mid­wife, and I re­tired but my hus­band and I do a lot of vol­un­teer work,” she tells South­ern Gazette.

She has vol­un­teered there since Food Res­cue opened in 2011 un­der the um­brella of Unit­ingCare West.

Food Res­cue is sub-con- tracted by Sec­ond Bite which col­lects dis­carded pro­duce from Coles su­per­mar­kets over east.

Mt Law­ley res­i­dent Rod Lewis ar­rives be­fore noon to de­liver repacked boxes to their des­ti­na­tions.

Thanks to this col­lec­tive ef­fort, the 2000kg col­lected last Mon­day night were trans­formed into 4000 meals by Perth char­i­ties by Tues­day night.

Last Thurs­day Miss Galaxy state fi­nal­ist Ali­cia Van Schoonhoven, of Dianella, also helped sort boxes. Food Res­cue’s Julie Broad, who runs the char­ity with Lyn­don Nils­son, said Afghan refugees at- tended on Fri­days to help sort and pack the pro­duce.

In to­tal, 107 vol­un­teers move food from su­per­mar­ket shelves to char­ity kitchens three times a week.

Food Res­cue’s lat­est ini­tia­tive, the Cargo Cart ser­vice, tra­verses CBD streets to col­lect about 1700 left- over cafe sand­wiches, wraps and rolls per fort­night for var­i­ous shel­ters.

But there is so much more food to be ‘res­cued’, ac­cord­ing to Ms Broad.

She said more vans were needed and ex­plained it cost about $80,000 to buy and fit out a van and about $5000 an­nu­ally in fuel.

Pic­ture: David Baylis

Denise Arm­strong of South Perth and Miss Galaxy Aus­tralia 2015 WA State Fi­nal­ist Ali­cia Van Schoonhoven of Dianella.

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