Celebrating 5 Years of Loaves and Fishes Tasmania.

Loaves and Fishes Tasmania celebrates its five-year anniversary on July 1st 2023, having fed hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Tasmanians and rescued a million tonnes of surplus food from waste.

What started as an idea to collect surplus food to feed Tasmania’s most vulnerable has resulted in the State’s largest emergency food relief provider, distributing around 60 percent of Tasmania’s total.

Of course, the history of Loaves and Fishes is much longer, starting in 2014 when Andrew Hillier, CEO of Devonport Chaplaincy and later Loaves and Fishes, met Aaron Kropf, then State manager of SecondBite. At the time, Andrew was trying to source food for school breakfast programs.

The pair became friends and identified the need for ready-made meals made in Tasmania for Tasmanians who didn’t have the capacity to cook for themselves or their families. Aaron would go on to become the general manager of Loaves and Fishes, a position he continues to hold.

Andrew also connected with the CEO of SecondBite who enthusiastically and generously, agreed to gift the Tasmanian infrastructure and contacts to Loaves and Fishes, also agreeing to send surplus food from the mainland.

Andrew and Aaron looked at food collection and distribution methods on the mainland, particularly Fairshare, and quickly realised a kitchen was needed to make ready-to-eat meals using Tasmanian produce and employing Tasmanians, some vulnerable youth and long-term unemployed.

Pictured - Jeremy Rockliff, Andrew Hillier, Joan Rylah & Aaron Kropf

The Devonport kitchen took shape in 2017 as a result of a partnership with Action Against Homelessness and the State Government through then MPs, Jeremy Rockliff and Joan Rylah. The kitchen was established on the grounds of youth accommodation facility Eveline House to provide employment for vulnerable young Tasmanians interested in hospitality and cooking.

Loaves and Fishes Tasmania officially opened on July 1, 2018.

Every Friday throughout July we will highlight some of the amazing achievements and milestones of Loaves and Fishes.

By Paul O'Rourke (30/06/23)