Volunteer groups on a roll for food rescue charity

Volunteers from Fr John Therry School pack bread at the Balmain outreach centre (SBS News)

Every week, volunteers get together at four Sydney outreach centres to salvage bread destined to be thrown away, instead sending loaves, rolls and flatbreads to soup kitchens, charities and migrant support centres across the city. Source: SBS News.

The Gift of Bread food rescue organisation, which started in 2007, collects bread from more than 20 bakeries across the city. Groups of volunteers get together in centres in Marrickville, Erskineville, Lewisham and Balmain. Annually, the charity rescues and redistributes 130,000 kilograms of bread – that’s enough for more than 2.6 million sandwiches.

“There is so much food that goes to waste. Gift of Bread prevents hundreds of thousands of kilograms of bread ending up in landfill,” says Angela Mills, who has been involved for three years, and coordinates the Balmain outreach centre. “It's such a simple way of helping.”

“I manage the roster for the three stages of process, picking up bread, packing and delivering. Most of our volunteers [at Balmain] are former students and present families from Fr John Therry School and parishioners from St Augustine's Church. As well as coordinating the roster, my husband, two children and I help with the packing.

“I love that young and old can be part of the program. Every Tuesday evening, the church hall is buzzing with people all there for the common good of serving others. The little children run around the hall playing and, in between, they grab bags of bread and put them in the correct crates. The adults catch up on the week while quickly bagging the bread. It takes less than an hour. Gift of Bread builds community.”

Between the four centres, the collecting, sorting and delivering operates six days a week, sending bread to more than 150 community organisations, including Fr Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets, St Vincent De Paul Society projects and the Missionaries of Charity Surry Hill's Soup Kitchen.


How Gift of Bread is feeding Sydney with rescued rolls and leftover loaves (SBS News)

Gift of Bread - The Living Colour of Community (Gift of Bread)

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