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Reap - Guy Smilling

Case Studies

We would love to post case studies of Reap volunteers successfully managing food rescue in their local areas.

These stories will help illustrate the various stages of development - and hopefully inspire you too!

Tell us your story - email kate.kutty@ozharvest.org


Julie with Alan Baker, Woolworths Excellence manager and Community Engagement for Coffs Harbour and Mid-North NSW
Julie with Alan Baker, Woolworths Excellence manager and Community Engagement for Coffs Harbour and Mid-North NSW

Chapter Coordinator: Julie Ferguson
JULY 2014

Julie Ferguson is a local hero in Coffs Harbour. A mother of four, managing on a Centrelink pension, and struggling to find a job in a difficult employment market, Julie has nevertheless joined Reap to establish a successful, part-time, food rescue programme. In four months she has collected more than four thousand kilos of excess food from local farmers, produce stores and supermarkets for the fifteen charities and community services that she supports.

Julie has cemented a collaborative relationship with all three Woolworth's stores and has been offered as much of the store's excess food as she can manage to distribute. Julie also runs a weekly outreach delivery for impoverished refugee and local students in the southern area of Macksville. Julie recently launched a Reap programme for ten primary school breakfast clubs in collaboration with her Woolworth's donors. In a region where one-in-four children rely on food relief or go hungry, educators and community groups alike have celebrated the rollout of this programme in key areas of disadvantage such as Sawtell and Toormina. Given the success and simplicity of this programme, OzHarvest will aim to replicate this model within Reap chapters elsewhere.

The growth of Reap Coffs Harbour has depended on the education, practical support and business acumen provided via OzHarvest. The National Coordinator has also engaged local PR and media to expand Julie's reach with additional ambassadors, donors and volunteers. Reap success stories have attracted considerable attention from the media and recent print feature articles, radio interviews and speaking engagements alongside positive community chatter have drawn the attention of The Coffs Clubs of NSW; several Lions clubs, the Harbourside Markets; various fundraisers and the Regional manager of the National Australia Bank. All parties have contributed donations, services and support to ensure that Reap Food Rescue can continue to flourish in Coffs.

Today, Julie has six casual volunteers and the Coffs C.ex Clubs group has committed to provide a laptop and printer; pro bono PR and ongoing food donations. Both the Woolworths Area Manager and the CEX Clubs President are now determined to find a collaborative solution, in conjunction with a local dealership and other businesses for the eventual acquisition of a vehicle and office space for Julie's use.

Alan Baker, Woolworths Excellence manager and Community Engagement for Coffs Harbour and Mid-North NSW

Without people like yourselves immersed within our unseen and mostly forgotten community, this world would be a little bit darker than it should be. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the wonderful and selfless work that you so freely give our local communities. Our partnership with Reap strengthens our community engagement and delivers a cost and labour effective solution for our 'zero organic waste target' in 2015.

David Doyle, OAM, President C.ex Coffs Harbour and Vice President NSW Clubs (recently retired after 20 years' service)
A friend told me about OzHarvest and I researched them, and thought why don't we have something like that in Coffs? Then I heard about what Julie was doing with Reap locally. What an amazing impact she has achieved in a population that has too many disadvantaged members struggling to get by! Julie well knows the challenges of managing on very little and I would love to collaborate with Coffs Harbour Reap and OzHarvest to ensure that she can keep on doing such a great job for our community.


The NAB is one of many organisations that have contributed donations, services and support to ensure that Reap Food Rescue can continue to flourish in Coffs Harbour.
The NAB is one of many organisations that have contributed donations, services and support to ensure that Reap Food Rescue can continue to flourish in Coffs Harbour.

Julie makes the local news!
Julie makes the local news!


Chapter Coordinator: Rike Wolf
Indigenous Health Project Coordinator- Liz McAvoy

Reap Townsville is an exciting example of how Reap provides community education and a collaborative bridge between various existing community services. After a recent partnership, The Food Rescue Initiative Townsville founder has now formally taken on the role as Reap Townsville Coordinator to ensure that their members (now supported as Reap volunteers) and stakeholders, are able to rely on the OzHarvest umbrella for support, expanded networks and logistical, administrative and volunteer management knowledge.

Reap Townsville incorporates a specific health initiative for two local indigenous communities, driven by Liz McAvoy, who has been a Midwife and Maternal And Child Health nurse there for 41 years, currently working within Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local. Liz came to Reap for simple instructions on how to set up food rescue and acquire donors. Liz has since been supported by both the Townsville and National Reap coordinators to great success and her tri-weekly deliveries of fresh produce to the families within Mum's Place and the Happy Valley Town camp community are providing vital nutrition to their members.

Rike, the Reap Townsville Coordinator has had considerable experience with food waste and local food relief needs and founded the original 'Food Rescue Initiative Townsville' to address these needs. The subsequent partnership with OzHarvest has been driven to support maximum efficiencies, reach and knowledge sharing between Reap and the existing community services. Additional collaborative requests from the Daybreak Rotary group and the Big Issue's Street Soccer programme and local community garden interest will lead the way for future reach, resources and development within existing local services.

As an emergency nurse in Townsville, Rike sees much of the underside of poverty in her working life and with additional locums in disadvantaged communities such as Palm Island, she has a considerable understanding of the need for food relief.

Rike Wolf- Reap Townsville Coordinator and Emergency Nurse Townsville Hospital
When I first started in food rescue the simple resources provided in the Reap toolkit such as the 'Get an Esky and Go' handout meant that I was able to print out a simple training tool for my volunteers. As the team at Food Rescue Initiative has subsequently moved within the Reap by OzHarvest community, I have been able to access vital support to enable our administration, logistics and growth. The mentoring via the National Coordinator and the background support and recognition of OzHarvest has meant that we can now look at applying for other community grants to extend our food relief efforts.'

Liz McAvoy - Reap Indigenous Health Project Coordinator and New Directions Clinical Services Coordinator, Medicare Local Townsville-Mackay
'The support and encouragement offered via Reap and OzHarvest has provided me with simple, easy to manage resources for tapping into the local excess food supplies. After more than four decades involved in local care services and nursing, I am truly heartened to see the simple good sense that Reap promotes between community volunteers, local food businesses and the locals doing it tough. Reap means that I can help feed these extremely disadvantaged families with fresh, nutritious food that they can't afford. Ultimately, better nutrition builds a foundation for better life outcomes for my clients.'


Food Rescue in Wellington, New Zealand - www.kaibosh.org.nz

What is their story?

Kaibosh started in 2008 when Robyn and George Langlands started collecting surplus food from Wishbone (a local food retailer), storing it overnight in their fridge and dropping it off to charities the next day to feed people in need.

With a group of friends who donated time and skills they started rescuing good food in Wellington.

Fast forward two years they now rent an office, employ a part-time Operations Manager, have won the hearts of Wellingtonians and have expanded their operations.

Kaibosh uses volunteers to work together to alleviate food poverty and reduce food waste.

Kaibosh sought out food retailers to collect more food, set up regular pick-ups from fresh produce and artisan food markets, an online food retailer and several bakeries, but initially struggled to bring a chain of local supermarkets on board.

Getting the local supermarket chain on board – how they did it.

This particular chain operated like franchises - so each store had to be approached individually. Email and telephone approaches were not successful so the Kaibosh Operations Manager had to meet with each store manager face to face.

The first pick-ups were disappointing – damaged packaging, small amounts, and Kaibosh started being turned away. Then they discovered the supermarket was supplying another charity with bread every week day and the Dock Manager had thought that Kaibosh was trying to steal this other surplus food from this charity!!! And as it turned out that the charity was also one of Kaibosh's regular recipients.

Kaibosh realized they needed to make sure each of their charities told them about existing relationships with retailers so she did not step on anyone's toes or disrupt existing arrangements.

Kaibosh also realized they needed to make it clear to the supermarket staff that Kaibosh was working together with the charity, and not trying to take away the charity's food supply.

Kaibosh and the charity jointly wrote a letter to the supermarket, thanking them for all their donations and help, clarifying Kaibosh's position, and authorising Kaibosh to pick up any other non-bread surplus.

Kaibosh's Operations Manager followed up on this with a meeting with the supermarket owner, and was introduced to key staff, including the Dock Manager.

The staff were quick to come on board once they understood more about Kaibosh and who was benefiting from the donated food. As a result, Kaibosh was able to successfully rescue and redistribute an even greater amount of food. The supermarket is now one of their bigger food donors.

Key Lessons

  • Try multiple channels of communication and be persistent (but polite!).
  • Try to meet food donor management or owners in person.
  • Different people prefer to communicate in different ways – phone, email, post, text, face-to-face – it may be necessary to try different methods to get your foot in the door and persuade people of the merits of your cause.
  • Some people may not respond to emails as they are not around the computer much - they may be busy on the shop floor, or they may not like using technology.
  • Make sure you communicate with all levels of staff at your food donor organization – ie owners and managers and frontline staff.
  • Explain where your food will go and the benefit it gives to your charity.
  • Presentations at staff meetings and flyers that give an overview of what you are doing for your charity may help get a food donor on board.
  • Be aware that you might not know the full story if you are told you cannot pick up excess food. In Kaibosh's case the charity had not told Kaibosh the full story about their existing relationship with the supermarket, a series of misunderstandings had eventuated. If Kaibosh had simply given up on the supermarket, they might have lost out on one of their bigger donors.

Tell us your food rescue story

email kate.kutty@ozharvest.org

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