Published On: 2 August 2023Categories: Stories

Loaves and Fishes Tasmania was focused on increasing the production of our nutritious ready-to-eat meals, to distribute to more than 180 community food programs statewide.

Now being a local Tasmanian organisation, increasing our connection with local farmers and producers was important. Many new connections were formed throughout 2019.

Harvest Moon, Premium Fresh Tasmania and Nichols Poultry are a few of the amazing partnerships established along with many, many others.

Throughout 2019 we supported many events such as; Shearwater Mulled Wine in May and The Taste of Tasmania, as well as providing catering elsewhere to help fund our work.

We also employed multiple trainees who were able to gain skills through the production of meals, and catering opportunities, a great learning environment for those who were involved in traineeships, and something we continue to ensure that trainees have many opportunities to learn and use different skills when cooking.

In 2020 we were declared an essential service soon after lockdown, with a 70% increase in demand for food relief across Tasmania. Our team and volunteers were busy cooking nutritious meals (most likely a delicious roast chicken meal) for those in need, adapting to the ever-changing environment as we all had to.

With many agencies shut down due to not being declared an ‘essential service’, unique methods were used to get food to those in need, including using our Learner Driver Mentor cars from Devonport Chaplaincy for deliveries. We also had the opportunity to provide employment for 3 local chefs who had been stood down due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

A second shift was created which helped produce up to 12,000 meals each week during the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns in Tasmania. If we had the resources available now, Loaves and Fishes would add a second shift to both kitchens. This could increase output from 9,000 to a much-needed 15,000 or more meals a week.

Loaves and Fishes received additional Government assistance during COVID-19 peak enabling us to support more Tasmanians during these challenging times.

Throughout and after the lockdowns, we reconsidered our vision and tagline, and in late 2020 we changed from ‘Condiments with Conscious’ to ‘Delivering Food and Hope’, this becoming an important message that better captures our desire to support long-term change in the food security, food literacy and food nutrition space

We were able to really share our new and revised tagline of ‘Delivering Food and Hope’ with the Tasmanian community.

Our shifted vision was in response to involvement with other organisations, which included the formation of the Tasmanian Food Security Coalition (Eat Well Tasmania, Families Tasmania, Local Government Association of Tasmania, Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania, School Food Matters, Tasmanian Council of Social Service and University of Tasmania) which brought focus to the need for food literacy, nutrition and education around food.

Whilst we are committed to rescuing food we do not think this is the solution to food security issues. The Food Relief to Food Resilience Strategy was developed and released in 2021 in conjunction with other food relief and community service sectors, and the Tasmanian Government, along with an Action Plan for 2023-25. In an effort to change the mindset from forever continuing to deliver food relief, to moving towards food resilience.

Our fundraising capacity also increased in 2021 when our first Winter Solstice Splash took place with the help of Jade Child – our first effort raising $32,000 to continue our work.

Loaves and Fishes, whilst still strongly committed to delivering food relief in the current present, hope that soon relief can transition into resilience with food and nutrition literacy and education, creating hope for a healthier future.

We believe that when we deliver fresh produce and ready-to-eat meals in combination with food literacy and education, we will be able to deliver much more than food, we can deliver hope as well, and a way forward for healthy Tasmanians who, at the time and now still grasp the understanding of our aim at Loaves and Fishes Tasmania which is ‘Delivering Food and Hope’.

The past two years 2022 & 2023.

Loaves and Fishes is committed to working together in partnership, and not alone. In 2022 we partnered with School Food Matters in a pilot lunch program which saw 78,000 hot lunches in total delivered to students across 15 selected Tasmanian schools, focusing on improving the quality and nutrition. The program has doubled in 2023 to 30 schools, and has produced 90,000 serves so far this year.

UTAS data released in December of 2022 showed that a staggering 1 in 2 Tasmanians were struggling with food insecurity at some level, further driving us in our vision to deliver food and hope to each individual and the families who are struggling.

We were also closing in on the opening of the new Rokeby Kitchen at The Grace Centre, a partnership with Grace Church and privately philanthropic investment of more than $1.2 million for the development and ongoing operating costs. Meal production started back on Valentines day this year and to date we have provided new jobs for seven young Tasmanians, an apprentice who formerly attended Jordan River Learning Federation, another local apprentice, and five school-based trainees from Bayview Secondary College.

These guys also had an incredible opportunity to work with Culinary Director Massimo Mele and his team last Thursday night as we officially opened and celebrated our new Rokeby Kitchen with a fundraising event.

This kitchen along with our Devonport kitchen produces up to 9000 meals a week and distributes to more than 250 agencies across Tasmania, who help those doing it tough.

We are committed along with many others to seeing every Tasmanian have the ability to access nutritious and healthy food, and delivering food and hope.

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