Epworth donation helps hungry Queenslanders

15 June 2017

More than 140,000 meals per month are being consumed by Brisbane’s disadvantaged, thanks to a collaboration between SecondBite, a charity that recovers and distributes unused food and Epworth HealthCare, which donated a cool room to safely store the food.

The cool room, a converted shipping container, had been fitted out as a cool room after a long and productive life moving goods around the world. Epworth infrastructure staff bought it to provide alternative refrigeration while the Epworth Richmond kitchen was undergoing a major re-fit to deliver the new ‘Room Service’ model, being introduced later this year

​​“We bought this refurbished cool-room when it became clear that the cost of hiring it would exceed the full purchase price”, said Alan Ward, Epworth HealthCare’s Richmond Redevelopment Project Director. “When the project was completed and we had no further need, we were advised by the Hawthorn Rotary Club that SecondBite would welcome the contribution,” he said.

SecondBite provides access to fresh, nutritious food for people in need across Australia. They rescue and redistribute surplus fresh food; build community capacity in food skills and nutrition; and advocate for an end to food insecurity.

“Our volunteers sort through the food to ensure quality and safety. Good food is refrigerated until it is delivered. We try to minimise the time between recovery and distribution to keep food as fresh and nutritious as possible,’ said SecondBite’s Arklay. With 95 per cent of SecondBite’s food being s​easonal fruits and vegetables, refrigeration is a critical component in the re-distribution chain. “We try to get food out to our agencies as quickly as possible and first-class refrigeration is critical to SecondBite’s success”, he said.

Epworth Richmond’s new food service model upgrades the hospital’s food offer from production-line hospital food to a la carte dining. It follows the successful 2016 introduction of ‘Room Service’ at the new $276 million Epworth Geelong. The new kitchen will produce and deliver more than 2000 patient meals every day, each specially ordered via touch screen technology. 

Epworth HealthCare’s Head Chef, Paul Hayes said that Epworth Richmond will be the largest single hospital site in Australia to introduce a la carte dining. “This is a massive shift in the way hospitals serve food”, he said. “Each patient will order freshly prepared healthy food on demand, via a touch-screen by their bedside. Hospital food will never be the same” he said proudly. ​​