Community Group Profiles
We want to sing your praises! Not just because you deserve it, but also to spread the word about what’s working and who’s making it happen.
Each month we’ll be profiling in our newsletter not-for-profit staff, volunteers and board members with stories to tell about the power of volunteers to tackle problems and achieve great outcomes. If you’ve got a story others could learn from, please let us know at email@example.com.
1. Profile: Zoe Whyatt, General Manager
2. Your organisation: SecondBite
3. What you do/who you help:
SecondBite is a dynamic not-for-profit organisation committed to making a positive difference by sourcing fresh nutritious food that would otherwise go to waste and redistributing it to people who are homeless, living in disadvantaged circumstances or experiencing food security issues within the community.
In 2009, SecondBite collected and redistributed over 700 tonnes of food that would otherwise have been driven to landfill. This equates to 1.4 million nutritious 500g meals.
4. What inspired you to get involved in your organisation?
SecondBite appealed to me as it strives to address the problems of both food wastage and hunger by allowing one to serve as a solution to the other within a very efficient model. Every year Australians throw out $5 billion worth of food and we know that organic waste in landfill produces methane which is over 20 times more harmful to the environment than car exhaust fumes! At the same time thousands of families struggle to put food on the table. SecondBite has a simple model and a clear focus on redistributing healthy, nutritious food. We are also committed to providing long term preventative solutions to individuals and families in crisis to help alleviate long term dependency on emergency food relief. SecondBite takes a long term view and wants to be part of the solution to the issue of food insecurity.
5. Your responsibilities:
As General Manager, I have a day to day oversight of our operations and direction. I am lucky enough to work with a fantastic team of committed individuals who are all dedicated to providing the best possible service to the agencies we exist to serve. One of my main focus areas is the successful and sustainable expansion of SecondBite operations and programs in and around Melbourne, in regional Victoria, and in Tasmania. We have been operating in Tasmania for over a year now and continue to expand there as we are the only organisation providing this service in the state. More recently SecondBite has set up a model of food distribution in Geelong, supporting agencies in the local area.
7. Your greatest challenges:
As a not-for-profit organisation access to funding is a constant challenge. For SecondBite it really is the only thing that restricts our operations. There is no shortage of food available – so much surplus food is wasted – and unfortunately we find that there is no shortage of need. Indeed our 2009 Recipient Agency Survey revealed that 42% agencies providing food relief to people in need had seen more than a 50% increase in demand for their services in 2009 and 72.4% had seen an increase of 25% or more. We remain focused on developing the infrastructure and innovative models to redistribute food as efficiency as possible, thereby maximizing the funding that we receive.
8. How have you utilised goodcompany?
SecondBite posted a volunteer project for a database expert on Good Company’s site at the end of last year and within 48 hours we had a response from an interested volunteer. Within a week we had met with this volunteer who had a wealth of relevant experience, fresh ideas and time to assist. A great result for us!
9. Tips for Community Groups and skilled volunteers working together:
The community group needs to be clear about what their skill gaps and needs are. Make the volunteer project as concise and inspiring as possible. The communication lines between the community group and volunteer need to always be open. For the outcome to be most effective, both community group and volunteer should be honest with the other so expectations are met.