Food distributor receives acclaim as Australia’s Local Hero

Posted by Isobel Drake on 27th January 2010

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, has congratulated Australia’s 2010 Local Hero – New South Wales OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn.

Ms Kahn, from Bronte, was recognised as part of the Australian of the Year Awards 2010 for her social and environmental leadership as the founder of OzHarvest – a charity which collects excess food from commercial operators and redistributes it to local charities.

“Ronni Kahn is an outstanding citizen who inspires us with the passion she has for this country and the wellbeing of her fellow Australians,” Senator Evans said. “During her career in the hospitality industry, Ms Kahn witnessed the wastage of edible food and decided to investigate how it could be redistributed to the needy in the community.

“She was instrumental in changing legislation in four states to protect donors from any liability when supplying leftover food – a hurdle which needed to be overcome to allow the OzHarvest concept to operate.”

In just five years OzHarvest has gone on to deliver 4.6 million meals in the Sydney area, in the process stopping 1.4 million kilograms of food from going into landfill.

The organisation currently collects excess food from some 600 donors and delivers more than 110,000 meals a month to 163 charities in Sydney, Canberra and Wollongong – with plans to go national next year.

“Australia’s Local Hero award acknowledges Australians like Ronni who selflessly donate their time and effort to make a real difference to their communities,” Senator Evans noted. “That’s what being an Australian citizen is about – giving something back to the community we share.”