SecondBite gives volunteers some social innovation food for thought

Published:22 February 2018

CQUni Melbourne students Thi Thi Ko and Danyal Lakzian volunteering at the SecondBite food rescue warehouse in Melbourne.

Students in Melbourne and Sydney have clamoured for the chance to make a difference in their communities, with one-day volunteering opportunities at food rescue social enterprise SecondBite.

Coordinated by CQUni’s Office of Social Innovation, the events attracted more than 20 students across the two cities, with many more missing out due to limited places.

Students started early to donate their time and muscle at SecondBite warehouses in West Heidelberg and Penrith, with most catching public transport to the 8am volunteer shift.

There were plenty of questions about food waste and recovery as they toured the warehouses, before getting stuck into fresh food sorting, to ensure that good quality fruit and vegetables could be redistributed to charity partners across Victoria and New South Wales.

With the help of hundreds of volunteers, SecondBite collects surplus and waste food from supermarkets nationally, rescuing and redistributing 46,054,060kg of food every year, to provide 92,108,120 meals through nearly 900 community food programs.

Vitally, the food and its packaging is also saved from landfill, with a huge benefit to the environment.

The CQUni experience was supported by the Change Champ team, with Sydney’s Nabeel Abdulla and Melbourne’s Abhishek Panchal also attending the volunteer days.

Last year, CQUniversity Melbourne hosted SecondBite CEO Jim Mullan as part of its Social Innovation Lecture Series. Mr Mullan also sits on the Office of Social Innovation’s Engagement Committee.

The SecondBite opportunity is the first of several off-campus immersive social innovation experiences that will be offered to students this year.

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