Turn 50 cents into a $5 Christmas meal

A VERY hungry Christmas is unthinkable for most of us, but a staggering five million Australians are heading into the season feeling anything but merry. Thankfully, 50 cents is all that's needed to make a meal for someone this December.

The Woolworths OzHarvest Christmas Appeal is selling 50 cent tokens at every Woolworths register nationally until 24 December, with the aim of delivering the equivalent of three million meals where they're needed.

Ronni Kahn, CEO and Founder OzHarvest, with Claire Peters, Managing Director for Woolworths Supermarkets, launching the OzHarvest Christmas Appeal at Woolworths Norwest. Picture: supplied.
Ronni Kahn, CEO and Founder OzHarvest, with Claire Peters, Managing Director for Woolworths Supermarkets, launching the OzHarvest Christmas Appeal at Woolworths Norwest. Picture: supplied.

Food rescue charity OzHarvest currently services around 1,800 charities nationwide, with another 200 on a waiting list for assistance.

OzHarvest Founder and CEO Ronni Kahn AO said, "Christmas is such a challenging time for vulnerable people, because all around you're hearing messages of abundance, joy, gratitude (and) consumption (is) at its absolute highest.

"If you have nothing, that's when it feels the worst … and there's absolutely no doubt that hunger needs and food relief has intensified - we know that."

Ms Kahn said one in five kids in any Australian school leaves home without breakfast.

"That's not even just in low socio-economic areas," she said. "So this is clearly horrifying."

Woolworths OzHarvest Christmas Appeal asks customers to donate 50 cents for food relief. Picture: supplied.
Woolworths OzHarvest Christmas Appeal asks customers to donate 50 cents for food relief. Picture: supplied.

Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Claire Peters said it was staggering to consider the numbers of Australians currently experiencing food insecurity.

"While Christmas can be a magical time for many of our customers, for those Australians not knowing how they are putting food on the Christmas table, it can also be an incredibly daunting time. The appeal is so important, and together with our customers, we can all play a role," Ms Peters said.

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The Foodbank Hunger Report 2019 shows record food insecurity across the nation, with demand for food relief services rising by more than 20 per cent Australia-wide in the past 12 months.

"Look, the cost of living has gone up and it's nationwide," Ms Kahn said.

"It's a very complex issue, this notion of food insecure Australians, but it doesn't discriminate against anyone and often it's not who you think it is.

"Some food insecure people do have a job, and they might even have two jobs, but they still can't make it, and they have to make choices about where their money goes. Sometimes in order for there to be a roof over their head, then there can't be food."

Each 50 cent token sold as part of the Woolworths OzHarvest Christmas Appeal delivers the equivalent of a meal worth at least $5 to a food insecure Australian. Picture: supplied.
Each 50 cent token sold as part of the Woolworths OzHarvest Christmas Appeal delivers the equivalent of a meal worth at least $5 to a food insecure Australian. Picture: supplied.

Ms Kahn said there had not been a Christmas yet that OzHarvest didn't receive calls from people with nothing: no food or gifts for their family.

"Those of us that are in store are privileged to be able to be purchasing, you know? (Asking) people to add an extra 50 cents is not a huge ask … you wouldn't miss that 50 cents, and … it's a beautiful way to spend 50 cents," she said.

Ms Kahn said the Woolworths partnership is absolutely fundamental.

"The funds that we'll raise during this appeal will allow us to deliver at least two million more meals. The equivalent of a meal is around 300 grams of nourishing food, and (for) your 50 cents, we can deliver (that). That's immensely powerful (because) it's worth at least $5."

While Woolworths and OzHarvest hope to match last year's result of raising around $1.2 million, privately Ms Kahn's goal for the annual drive is higher.

"I don't like to commit other people - I can't commit other people - but that is really what I've set my heart on: three million meals," she said.

You can donate to the The Woolworths OzHarvest Christmas Appeal here.

Dinner plate tokens for Woolworths OzHarvest Christmas Appeal. Picture: supplied.
Dinner plate tokens for Woolworths OzHarvest Christmas Appeal. Picture: supplied.


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