National Convention Centre Canberra and OzHarvest ensure those in need get a feed

While the National Convention Centre Canberra (NCCC) has had to close its doors to the public as part of lockdown restrictions in the ACT, the venue is keeping the kitchens open to help ensure Canberrans in need don’t go hungry.

OzHarvest Canberra has engaged NCCC to cook 500 individually-sealed meals per week for the foreseeable future to ensure those in the community who are unable to put food on the table have access to a healthy and nourishing meal.

OzHarvest Canberra supplies food to 64 agencies and charities, who deliver meals to those who need them most. The onset of COVID-19 saw a drastic increase in demand for food relief in the Canberra and Queanbeyan region.

“During COVID restrictions, there’s a higher demand on our food, and there’s a reduction in the normal supply chain to the shopfronts and farmers that we normally rescue food from,” said Belinda Barnier, Canberra city manager at OzHarvest.

“So it puts us in a really tough situation. And when people are out of employment or are financially in tough positions, they rely on us for food.

“We’re very grateful to the National Convention Centre Canberra. We don’t have a kitchen and we don’t have a workforce, so it’s the perfect partnership, and it gives us the ability to deliver to people in need.”

NCCC executive chef Nikhil Jain said meal recipients can expect the same high quality of food that event guests enjoy.

“We know there are plenty of people doing it tough, so we are proud to be able to prepare high quality, nourishing meals to support people in the community,” he said.

“At the same time, it means that everyone in our kitchen team is getting around two shifts a week, which is great for everyone’s mental health.”