MORE than 100,000 frozen meals being made in McCain's Ballarat plant will be dished up for charity in an Australian-first for the global manufacturer.
McCain has collaborated with FoodBank Australia for the company's dinner volunteer day, in which more than 100 staff, through three shifts, have been devoting 24 hours' production to needy families across the nation.
Pub-size rich meatballs with vegetables and a healthy choice creamy carbonara were on the menu when The Courier toured the facility - both were meal options that McCain supply chain director Ross Fallon were "hearty" and filling.
It is unclear what proportion of meals will feed Ballarat residents seeking food relief, but FoodBank estimates about 25 per cent of dishes will stay in Victoria.
Mr Fallon said it had been a big effort to organise, but one McCain workers felt passionate about.
FoodBank's 2023 Hunger Report has found 36 per cent of Australian households experience moderate to severe food insecurity. The report stated that, at the least, people were reducing the quality, variety or desirability of their food and at worst, eating patterns were disrupted.
"Food insecurity is a really big challenge and it's growing every day. McCain is a family owned business and one of their core values is their heart in the community," Mr Fallon said.
"...We wanted to find a way that we could be proactive in supporting the community, and this was one way that we've come together...We've also allowed our people on the factory floor to donate their time.
"...All told about 100 of our staff on the floor who also wanted to find a way to contribute.
"This is a way we can get our our factory workers out in the community while still inside the building and offering their support as well."
TAKE A LOOK AT PHOTOS INSIDE THE McCAIN PREPARED MEALS PLANT BELOW
McCain's senior leadership has been on site to welcome and congratulate workers in Ballarat's prepared meals plant at the start of each shift, starting at 6am before the afternoon shift from 2pm and night shift from 10pm.
FoodBank Victoria team members also toured the plant as part of the takeover event.
This comes as Ballarat continues to wait for its FoodBank hub to open. The state government pledged $10 million for facilities in Ballarat and Morwell, leading into the 2018 election.
FoodBank Victoria chief executive officer David McNamara was unable to confirm a likely time frame for the Ballarat opening but said it was getting closer.
Mr McNamara said this partnership with McCain was "amazing" in a joint passion for feeding people. He said the donation was a much-needed boost for FoodBank to help people most in need across the nation.
"I think the sad thing for both of us is that there's too many Australians that aren't able to afford these fantastic meals," Mr McNamara said.
"So, this is a great initiative of putting those meals on people's tables, regardless of where they are around the country.
"I think this is a demonstration by a really great company to show that how easy it is to help.
"You know, what we love about the Australian community is when we see a problem, we help and McCain's stood up and said, well, we can help with this one."
McCain's dinner volunteer day runs from 6am to 6am, Tuesday, November 14 to Wednesday, November 15.
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