“Food glorious food” sang out the orphans in Dickens’ Oliver Twist. We all need to eat and OzHarvest has been doing its best to ensure, if they can help it, that nobody misses out.

You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.

Paul Prudhomme

A call went out early in April from the UTS Centre for Social Justice & Inclusion for UTS staff to volunteer through a partnership with non-profit organisation OzHarvest. UTS has a commitment to social justice projects and programs together with sustainability, and the work of OzHarvest aligns with those goals.

Last Thursday, seven keen volunteers from IML, including representatives from the TACT, LX.lab and Operations teams, meet for a quick coffee at The Grounds of Alexandria. We then donned our yellow OzHarvest aprons at the organisation’s big warehouse nearby. 

After a brief rundown about OzHarvest’s community work – which includes donations to charity, addressing food waste, preparing food hampers and having cook-offs – we were set to work to the happy sounds of 80’s tunes. (A couple of us really showed our age by knowing the lyrics).

Our job was to pack hampers for distribution to charity as part of a grant that OzHarvest received as a result of the pandemic. These hampers provide a selection of dry and fresh ingredients for people in need. With the use of a shopping trolley, we loaded each brown bag with a dozen staples and some sweet treats. The half-day was broken up with morning tea and snacks, and finished with a delicious vegetarian meal of salads including lentil salad, pumpkin and chickpea salad and a crispy noodle green salad.  

The day was a great opportunity to bond with colleagues that we haven’t seen much of lately, meet somebody new in the community and spend some time away from the screen. Using your hands and your heart is a wonderful way to break up the week, do something physical, have a change of pace and environment. 

Sophia, our OzHarvest leader thanked us most graciously and welcomed us or any other interested UTS staff or community contacts to volunteer for half-day events with OzHarvest.

Life throws us mysterious ingredients. If we are brave enough to put the recipe aside and experiment, it’s right there that things get interesting.

Ronni Kahn, the founder and CEO of OzHarvest

Social Justice Leave entitles continuing or fixed-term staff at UTS up to five days paid leave to volunteer their time, skills and abilities to positively impact communities beyond our campus. So, chat to your manager, colleagues and friends, and get a group together. You’ll have fun, meet new people and have a change from your regular work. Find out more about Social Justice Leave and how to apply on Staff Connect

The IML team smiling and holding 'OZ Harvest' signs
Thanks to the IML staff who volunteered their time and contributed to this blog: (Top L-R Natasha Sutevski, Richard Ingold, Wenes Gunawan, Dimity Wehr, Scott Britcher; Bottom L-R Charlie Hock, Gabrielle Gardiner)

Photos by Scott Britcher

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