Foodbank to serve up 315,000 meals of Riverina rice to Australians in need this Christmas

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December 15, 2016

Today 22 tonnes of Riverina-grown rice will be loaded at SunRice’s Leeton Distribution Centre and transported to hunger relief charity Foodbank, to provide much-needed meals this holiday season for thousands of struggling Australians, including people in rural areas.

The donation of Riverina rice will generate around 315,000 rice meals, and is the result of collaboration between local rice growers, SunRice and Deniliquin Freighters. The donation will be split between Foodbank’s Melbourne and Sydney distribution centres, and will then be disseminated to a variety of frontline charities serving both metro and country communities, including a number across the Riverina. Foodbank’s 2016 Hunger Report revealed people in regional and remote areas are 11% more likely to experience frequent food insecurity than their city counterparts – as a result of this statistic, over a third of the rice donation will find its way back to rural areas.

L to R: David Bush, SunRice Leeton Warehouse Operator, Greg Westervale, Driver for Deni Freighters and Tony Piltz, SunRice Leeton Distribution Centre Manager

“Despite a smaller crop this year due to low water allocations, we’re absolutely thrilled that for the fourth year running, the Riverina rice supply chain has joined forces to support Foodbank. It is also reassuring to know that rice grown in regional NSW and donated to Foodbank will help those in need across regional communities.” said Tom Howard, SunRice’s General Manager AGS, Growers Services and Agronomic Development.

Brianna Casey, CEO Foodbank Australia, thanked everyone involved in this donation, from the growers who generously donated the rice, to SunRice’s Mill employees who packaged it and Deniliquin Freighters for transporting it.

“Even though there was a reduced crop this year, SunRice has still thought of Foodbank and generously donated Riverina rice to help make a significant impact for people who need food relief. Food insecurity is hitting a crisis point in Australia. The most recent Foodbank Hunger Report showed that one in six Australians report having experienced food insecurity at least once in the last 12 months. Over 644,000 people now receive food relief from Foodbank agencies each month, a third of whom are children.” said Ms Casey.

Foodbank is the largest hunger relief organisation in Australia, providing food supplies to a range of frontline charities and community groups. The majority of the agencies that Foodbank support provide assistance to low income families and single parent families. In 2014/15 alone, Foodbank provided the equivalent of
60 million meals to those in need around the country.

SunRice and Foodbank plan to continue the donation process into the future, with the aim to reach Foodbank’s vision of achieving an Australia without hunger.

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