By Michael Johnson - Victorian Sales Manager
Every day spent working at NEXTDC is an adventure as we all change the world by building the infrastructure platform for the digital economy but thanks to our generous Live to Give program, some days are that little bit more special than others.
We are really passionate about playing our part in creating a better world for the generations to come, and it’s our firm belief that companies can and should do more than just make money. Giving back to the community and using our success to improve society is something we are lucky enough to get to do at NEXTDC.
Hot on the trail of raising over $73,000 for The Smith Family through the Around the Bay cycling event, recently ten of our Melbourne-based team spent a day away from the office to give something back to the communities we all live in, by using their volunteer days helping out at Foodbank Victoria.
Foodbank is a great national philanthropic service that collects, stores and distributes donated food to thousands of charities across the country. Managed on a state by state basis, in Victoria, it acts as a pantry for all the organisations across the state which are providing free food to people who need it.
Being able to help in this manner, is in many ways a bitter-sweet experience. It is unfathomable to think about just how much food we waste as a society every day, yet there are millions of people in Australia alone who face the reality of not knowing where their next meal is coming from.
However, it is great to know that organisations such as Foodbank are making a difference with the help of volunteers such as our group and the generous support of philanthropists, farmers, food producers and service providers.
Here are some startling stats from Foodbank that help us understand the scale of the food security problem today.
More than four million Australians have experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months with three in four of those categorised as having perpetual very low food security. Heartbreakingly, children represent 22% of all food insecure people in this country.
Half of all charities in Australia are reporting a rising number of people seeking food relief and only 36% of charities say they’re currently meeting all the needs of people seeking help. The Government estimates food waste costs the Australian economy $20 billion each year.
Over five million tonnes of food ends up as landfill each year (and growing), enough to fill 9,000 Olympic sized swimming pools. One in five shopping bags end up in the bin = $3,800 worth of groceries per household each year while an estimated 35% of the average household bin is food waste.
The good news is that organisations such as Foodbank are making a difference by using food that would otherwise go to waste and redistributing it to charities who are struggling to keep up with demand for food relief within our communities.
It provides relief to over 710,000 people every month, 26% of whom are 18 or under and 86% of recipients of food relief from charities supported by Foodbank report that the benefits of food assistance make a difference in their lives for more than a week.
Food drives at our M1 and M2 facilities garnered over 70KGs of food to be added to the Foodbank coffers before our team of ten each covered about six kilometres walking the warehouse while managing to pick and pack over 12.27 tonnes of food on the day for 32 of Foodbank’s charity partners. That is the equivalent of 22,191 meals or enough food to feed a family of four for five years.
We could not be prouder of the efforts of our Melbourne team, but importantly, we are so privileged to work for a company like NEXTDC who place significant emphasis on our people being connected to society by empowering all of us to give back to our community.
A huge shout out to Foodbank for all the amazing work they do in bringing food security to so many people who need it and for giving us the opportunity to be a part of it.
You can find out a lot more about the amazing work Foodbank does around industrial scale food rescue and redistribution to Australians facing food security challenges as well as how you can contribute to the cause from their website.