Published On: 21 September 2023Categories: Stories

Loaves and Fishes Tasmania made its one millionth meal and received the deed to its own building in what has been a momentous week for the food relief organisation.

The one millionth meal came in five years out of the new Hobart kitchen at the Grace Centre in Rokeby, a delicious smoked salmon pasta. The dish will be lunch or dinner for one of around 16,000 Tasmanians fed each week through hundreds of community food partners.

The $1.3million Federal Government grant for Loaves and Fishes to buy the Devonport warehouse is the fulfilment of a promise made at the last election.

Loaves and Fishes general manager Aaron Kropf said the Devonport and Hobart kitchen were producing 10,000 relief and school meals each week, but while quantity was important, quality was paramount.

“I’m most proud of our kitchens producing restaurant-quality meals which honours those we serve,” Aaron said.

“We have always focused on serving nutritious, tasty and hearty meals using predominantly Tasmanian produce.

“In the early days we were just making spaghetti bolognese and soups, now we make up to eight different dishes each week, from roasts and stews, to stir frys and baked fish.

“We couldn’t have produced any meals without the support of Tasmanians producers, growers and suppliers who have given so generously while also saving millions of kilos of good food from landfill.”

Loaves and Fishes CEO Andrew Hillier said the gift of the Devonport building was as a result of the generosity of both the Federal Government and local businessman Royce Fairbrother and his business partners who held the sale price for four years while funding negotiations continued with the previous Liberal Government and the incoming Labor Government.

Loaves and Fishes had been paying around $100,000 p.a in rent for the 1500 sqm property.

“Both the one millionth meal and the building purchase represents a significant milestone for our organisation at a time when one-in-five Tasmanians are experiencing food insecurity, most for the first time in their lives,” Andrew said.

“I want to acknowledge the Federal Government’s endorsement of our work through the grant, and the generosity of Royce Fairbrother who allowed us to rent this property at a heavily reduced rate, and who waited so patiently until the funds were available.

“It obviously gives us a valuable asset, but now allows us to proceed with our site master plan for the development of this facility to increase our impact in feeding Tasmanians doing it tough.”

By Paul O’Rourke

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