Our vision is an Australia without hunger. Every day, with the help of dedicated charity partners, supporters, schools and volunteers, we work towards a better future.

Together we are changing the future of hunger in Australia

Foodbank is Australia’s largest and most trusted food relief organisation, providing more than 70% of items distributed by food relief charities nationwide. We are dedicated to helping heal the devastation and despair of food insecurity, and as we do this, making a significant environmental impact by reducing good food sent to landfill. 

Foodbank is strongly committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Goal #2 Zero Hunger, Goal #1 No Poverty, Goal #10 Reduced Inequalities, Goal #12 Responsible Consumption and Production and Goal #17, Partnerships for the goals. 

A charitable and non-denominational organisation, in NSW and the ACT alone we work with just under 1,000 school and charity partners that help vulnerable members of the community every day.

In a year where NSW and ACT communities faced crisis after crisis, demand for help was unrelenting and the compounding pressure of multiple emergencies on families was extraordinary. We are incredibly proud that Foodbank was able to remain steadfast, adapt and deliver support as never before. This is the story of 2020/21. 

Our purpose

Fight hunger by providing quality food for people in need. 

Our vision

An Australia without hunger.

Our guiding values


A summary of the key highlights in the  Foodbank NSW 2021 Annual Review. 

CEO & Chair Report

Read their message

We’ve never been prouder of the Foodbank team and our supporters.

No-one could have predicted the rolling emergencies we have endured over the past 12 months. Just as we dared to hope for a more positive 2021, heartbreaking floods devastated communities that were just recovering from the fires of the previous year, then the Delta variant of COVID-19 arrived on our shores. It seemed incomprehensible that these communities had to deal with so much pain, yet again.

What we have witnessed, in the face of these crises, is a strength of human spirit that has held us up and bound us together as one community, striving to reach out and help. We were steadfast, confident and strong when others were at breaking point. And the overwhelming generosity of people throughout NSW and the ACT and beyond, at a time when everyone was facing tough times, has been nothing short of extraordinary and the Foodbank team, yet again, rose to these challenges in a magnificent fashion. To each and every member of the team, a massive thank you.

We are immensely proud to present to you the Foodbank NSW & ACT Annual Review 2020/21, a time in history where we were there, together, for each other as never before. Our deepest gratitude to every person who has helped Foodbank fight hunger in the past year. You have helped families at their darkest hour, when a simple meal brought hope for tomorrow. 

Thank you

Peter Kelly (Chair) & John Robertson (CEO)  

21,450,600 meals for families in urgent need of support

The need for support remained incredibly high and with generous help from supporters, volunteers, schools and charity partners, Foodbank delivered a total of 21,450,600 meals across NSW and the ACT.

$333,285,800 Social Return on Investment 

– an immense impact on community and environment.

Every meal does more than just help ease hunger. The social impacts are enormous – increased emotional wellbeing and energy to focus on day-to-day demands, and a significant environmental impact due to less food sent to landfill. 

10,678,000 kg diverted from landfill to hungry families

Food rescue – redirecting and repurposing food and groceries that would otherwise go to landfill – enables us to make a tangible environmental impact.

13,044,600 meals
to metro NSW & ACT

More than 13 million meals (equivalent to 7,247,000 kg of food) brought significant relief to families in crisis going hungry.

8,406,000 meals
to rural NSW & ACT

Supporting rural families with more than 8 million meals (equivalent to 4,670,000 kg of food) was crucial as they dealt with the impact of natural disasters and the continuing impacts of COVID-19.

88,727 emergency

As NSW and the ACT dealt with back-to-back crises, thousands of families were plunged unexpectedly into food insecurity. By comparison, that is a 486% increase on hampers delivered last year. 

Our volunteers 
generously donated 
38,775 hours

We were so grateful to volunteers who gave the equivalent time of 25 full-time staff, despite the continuing impacts of COVID-19.

We supplied food 
to 630 individual charity partners

An additional 38 charities reached out to Foodbank this year to support their communities.

Donations accounted 
for 19,117,800 meals

Another 2,332,800 meals were purchased to meet growing need.

Support for families 
in need

Families received 59% pantry items, 36% fresh produce, fruit and vegetables and 5% personal hygiene and household items.

Served 1,224,720 nutritious school breakfasts 

we filled rumbling tummies with a record 1,224,720 school breakfasts at 349 schools.

In a year of unimaginable crisis, communities relied on Foodbank to bring hope

A respected and experienced first responder in times of emergency, Foodbank is no stranger to crisis. But even our team was shocked by the desperate need over the last 12 months.

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It was a time when everyone had to dig deep and pull together for the communities that rely on us. Foodbank remained strong and steadfast through every crisis and we sincerely thank every team member, volunteer, partner and donor for the part they played in helping us deliver extraordinary outcomes.

How we adapted in difficult times. 

No one could have foreseen how protracted and distressing the fall out of the COVID-19 pandemic would be. We faced new challenges daily, sometimes hourly. Volunteer numbers dropped overnight as corporate organisations worked hard to protect the health of their teams. But we adapted, took new opportunities on board and succeeded. The Australian Defence Force came to the rescue to help pack and deliver food, and we welcomed many enthusiastic secondment volunteers like Blacktown City Council and University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Helping students who were suffering and alone.

International students quickly emerged as a high need group, as they were ineligible for government help such as JobSeeker or JobKeeper. In partnership with Study NSW, Foodbank launched a program to provide emergency food hampers. An incredible 22,736 International Student Hampers were distributed in 2020/21. We also provided emergency food and personal care hampers to Resilience NSW, who distributed these to individuals and families who were directed into isolation as a result of Covid-19 and had no other means of support.

We watched as the number of calls for help soared.

As NSW and the ACT dealt with back-to-back crises, thousands of families were plunged unexpectedly into food insecurity. Foodbank sourced, packed and delivered an unbelievable 88,727 emergency hampers – a 486% increase on last year. 

Another natural disaster rocked our community to the core.

After enduring the fires of early 2020, communities were plunged into yet another crisis scenario when massive floods hit NSW in March 2021. To meet the need, we sourced, packed and delivered 5,500 emergency hampers and countless pallets of water. 

With communities totally isolated by floodwater, we had to get ‘creative’ to deliver the support that was so desperately needed. In some towns, boats delivered food across flood waters while in another, a helicopter flew in hampers. Schools stepped up to help their local communities and recovery centres were established in collaboration with charity partners. 

It all happened so fast,” said Barry. We were having a lazy day at home and looked out the window and could see our dam overflowing with water. It was getting closer to the house, so quickly. We just had to rush and put the kids in the car and go – there was no time to do anything.

The Jones’ devastating loss of their entire home and business came on top of a frightening health scare for their young daughter, Katelyn, in remission after cancer. Their new café in Kempsey had only been open five weeks before its destruction by floodwaters.

Luckily, we were all able to stay with my brother while we worked out what to do next. While we were there, Foodbank delivered a food hamper. It was so unexpected, so generous. The kids’ smiles when they saw that food… it was so special. It made all the pain go away for a while, just knowing someone was thinking of us.

Together, we’ve overcome challenges to deliver fresh food to families in need

Despite the incredibly difficult year we have faced, our suppliers, growers and partners came together to help us support communities with incredible passion and determination. 

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An extraordinary 10,621,000 kg of food, fresh produce and non-food products were donated across the year, providing relief and hope to people across NSW and the ACT.

Look at the generous support we’ve received.

Never before have our farmers and growers faced, and overcome, so many obstacles. 

Environmental disasters have taken their toll. The prolonged drought in NSW has had a long-lasting impact on our farmers, reducing crop production and capacity. Bushfires caused devastation to some of our dedicated apple growers, who are still trying to recover from this disaster. We’re now seeing the long-term impact of drought, bushfires and floods increasing demand while reducing supply.

Numerous sudden COVID-19 lockdowns caused serious disruptions and some suppliers were unable to get stock to destinations in time, which resulted in a large influx of product to Foodbank. Shutdowns at donor distribution centres meant sporadic and large volumes of donations needed to be managed strategically, and quickly distributed to communities in urgent need.

Our usual supply chains for fresh food donations have been constantly under pressure. Sydney Produce Market, in particular has felt the impact. Demand is high, while stock is low – sadly, many of these big-hearted businesses have lost up to 30% of their regular income.

Warehouse innovations for greater efficiency

A new chiller has improved our cold storage options and increased efficiency and capacity for donations. We’ve also added extra storage racking, created more space for receiving and packing and increased work spaces for volunteer teams.

Kilograms diverted from landfill – 10,621,000 kg

Foodbank’s focus on reducing the environmental impact of food waste continues to make a difference. Thousands of tonnes of food have avoided landfill, filling rumbling tummies instead. Foodbank is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, working towards ending hunger in our community and more sustainable consumption and production patterns.

1 The Key Staples Program is a collaboration between Foodbank and manufacturers to cost-effectively provide key staple products on a regular basis using federal government funds.

Our volunteers gave   their heart and soul.

In a year marked by uncertainty, challenge and unprecedented food insecurity in communities throughout NSW and the ACT, Foodbank’s volunteers have never been so important, or so valuable.

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The extraordinary dedication of our volunteers enabled us to bring relief to thousands of families in crisis throughout 2020/21. We were so proud of every member of our volunteer community, as they came together to do their part in bringing hope and comfort and fighting hunger.

Despite reduced capacity and limitations caused by restrictions and lockdowns, Foodbank volunteers still contributed 8,197 days and helped to distribute 21,450,600 meals to charities and schools across NSW and the ACT.

Our volunteers generously gave 45,532 hours of their time – the equivalent of 25 full-time staff. Foodbank simply could not have met the immense needs of our NSW and ACT communities without this committed team.

Despite workplace challenges, the corporate sector rose to the occasion.

As workplaces changed and pivoted during COVID-19 lockdowns, regular corporate supporters faced their own challenges and we welcomed new support from workplace secondments.

Despite the need to reduce volunteer numbers in our warehouse to keep everybody safe, we still welcomed 29 corporate teams who contributed 525 volunteer days. 

Workplaces that closed due to the impacts of COVID-19 generously opened their hearts to Foodbank and we welcomed volunteer secondments from workplaces including University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Blacktown City Council and the Australian Defence Force.

In 2020, a staggering 20,000 Christmas hampers were packed with the assistance of our corporate volunteers and secondments.

Our volunteers were recognised for their dedication.

In the 2020 Volunteer of the Year awards, Foodbank NSW & ACT warehouse volunteers were joint winners of NSW Volunteer Team of the Year, while Foodbank volunteer Ron Kelly won Senior Volunteer of the Year 2020 for Outer Western Sydney.

We adapted operations to improve efficiencies.

The Foodbank team adapted operational procedures and made significant changes to warehouse operations. The new mezzanine workspace completed in 2020 has enabled easier management of social distancing and packing 20,000 much-needed Christmas hampers.

Schools are helping to fill rumbling tummies

Our School Breakfast 4 Health Program creates a brighter future for our children every day.

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More Australian children than ever before have faced food insecurity this year. On top of the devastation of natural disasters like drought, fires and floods and ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, families who were already struggling to feed their kids have faced empty pantries and rumbling little tummies. Last year, there were 1.2 million children living in a household where there is not enough to eat. 1

More than just food.

The School Breakfast 4 Health Program is not only feeding hungry children, but creating opportunities to meet social and psychological needs. We are so proud of the School Breakfast 4 Health Program and the positive impact of the program on learning outcomes, health and wellbeing. 

Look at our impact in 2020/21

We welcomed schools with a range of different needs and a significant number across rural NSW. No school is too small or too remote to be a part of the School Breakfast 4 Health Program. By adding ‘Up & Go’ to the menu, schools successfully managed social distancing requirements with a ‘grab and go’ option. 

With crises occurring back-to-back across rural and remote regions, schools have become a crucial point of contact to access food assistance. School communities have worked tirelessly and gone above and beyond to put food on tables during emergency situations, isolation, restrictions, job loss and sickness, coming together to pack their own hampers and accessing Foodbank’s emergency food supplies.

Foodbank is grateful to schools that work to identify and assist families who may be struggling in silence. 

My greatest fear is that my kids will go hungry,” says Hayley, who lost her job as a touch football coach due to COVID-19 restrictions. Hayley is so grateful that her three children can get a good breakfast at school while she’s getting back on her feet. Hayley’s now giving her time to support the local community food pantry. “We are struggling to keep food on the shelves – the number of people coming here has doubled since COVID-19 hit.

Grace, Jake and Peter enjoying a yummy school breakfast

1 2021 Hunger Report

How our partnerships  are fighting hunger

At Foodbank, our charity partners are always there, working together to support communities far and wide through the toughest times.

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Across 2020/21, Foodbank’s charity partners gave hope to thousands of people in crisis.

We worked with 630 charity partners across NSW and the ACT to distribute food, often in heartbreaking emergency situations when communities lost everything. Charity partners have seen demand for food relief increase by an average of 47%.

How we’ve worked together to help communities in crisis

Always there, everywhere, when we are needed.

Our charity partners have seen two new food insecure groups emerge from the pandemic – the casual workforce and international students. Alarmingly, one in three Australians experiencing food insecurity have never gone hungry before the pandemic. 2

On the day the floods hit, Moira Hodgekiss from charity iCare on the mid north coast of NSW says she had a sinking feeling – she knew what to expect next.

We had just recovered from the impact of the fires. Suddenly we were dramatically in need of food, because there were just so many people affected by the floods. Foodbank was on the phone straight away and we instantly had food delivered, which was extraordinary as so many roads were flooded. 

One lady who had been stranded on her property for days, with two children and a baby, came to get food from us having pulled a row boat through water full of snakes and spiders. Others burst into tears when we knocked on their door, saying “thank you, thank you for bringing us food.” Some were so isolated they had absolutely no supplies left, or had lost parts of their homes and didn’t even have a kitchen cupboard anymore. 

We simply wouldn’t be here without Foodbank, and people would be desperate and alone in their struggle through crisis. Without Foodbank, we wouldn’t see lives change.”

2 2021 Hunger Report

Making sustainable choices is important to us at Foodbank

Foodbank is not only playing a lead role in fighting hunger, but also tackling the enormous environmental impact of Australia’s food waste problem.

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There’s a lot we can do as individuals to slow climate change and protect our precious planet, but as Australia’s largest food relief organisation, directing thousands of kilos of food away from landfill every day, Foodbank is making a tangible difference.
Working closely with our farmers and growers, manufacturers and suppliers, wholesalers and retailers, we are proud to play a lead role in addressing Australia’s $20 billion food waste problem and saving unnecessary CO2 emissions.

Our environmental impact

And there’s more

Our board members are hunger fighters, one and all.

The Foodbank family

Meet our Leadership team

Thank you – together we are changing the future of food insecurity

Every year, Foodbank receives generous support from our Hunger Fighters – people who care deeply about our community and want to help.

Read more about our fundraising

During 2020/21, hundreds of people across NSW and the ACT answered our calls for help in the face of multiple crises – drought, fires, floods and on top of it all, the ongoing heartbreak caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We put these donations to work, purchasing pantry staples, household items and distributing emergency food hampers.

We asked supporters for so much this year, and they have responded however they can. We are so humbled by the extraordinarily generous community that supports our work.

Download the full 2021 Annual Review

Download here