Cooking For A Cause

Tabcorp employees volunteer with OzHarvest’s Cooking for a Cause program to help the less fortunate eat with dignity while also doing their part to reduce food waste in Australia.

Australia’s leading perishable food rescue organisation, OzHarvest, launched in 2004, is on a mission to reduce food waste and eliminate hunger. Food waste is a huge issue in Australia, costing the economy an estimated $20 billion each year, with four million tonnes of food going to landfill.

OzHarvest rescues over 87 tonnes of quality surplus food each week from food donors across the country including hotels, restaurants, cafés, delis, supermarkets and other food businesses. The organisation then delivers this food directly, free of charge, to more than 900 charities that support people in need.

Tabcorp has been involved with OzHarvest for the past four years as part of the company’s community and employee engagement scheme, Tabcare. Tabcorp’s Community Project Officer, Sean Gray, is one employee who is passionate about the program, describing his own personal participation as enlightening.

“In the employee volunteering space, we have four community partners – Conservation Volunteers, FareShare, Pyjama Foundation and OzHarvest,” explains Gray.“Tabcorp is involved in two areas of OzHarvest – the Cooking for a Cause program and, through corporate volunteers, we also help run the organisation’s food stalls at various events around Sydney and Melbourne. Both are equally rewarding.”

The Cooking for a Cause program has Tabcorp employees spending a day in the OzHarvest kitchens alongside OzHarvest’s professional chefs, transforming rescued food into restaurant-quality meals, which are then transported to those in need. In addition to bonding over the cooking experience, volunteers also gain practical kitchen skills and the knowledge they have made a real difference by allowing those less fortunate to eat with dignity.

Executive Assistant within Tabcorp’s Frenchs Forest office Rebecca Lyons has volunteered with OzHarvest four times and is keen to continue her involvement.

“It’s such a fantastic opportunity, as you get to learn to cook recipes you probably wouldn’t have tried by yourself,” she says. “It’s a great way to spend the day out of the office. You’re given a recipe for the meal you’re in charge of cooking, and then you cook together as a team. Once you’ve finished, you get to sit down together as a group and taste everyone’s hard work.”

“I enjoy my time with them and have also helped them out by manning an OzHarvest stall at the Easter Show in New South Wales,” concludes Lyons. “You feel like you’re giving something meaningful back to the community and I’ll be volunteering again as soon as they’ll have me.”

To discover how your venue could eliminate food hunger, visit www.ozharvest.org/give-a-little-love/

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