SecondBite founders Ian and Simone Carson with Matt Preston. Photo: SUPPLIED
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JUST under 20,000 people received much-needed meals thanks to the shopping community of one of Geelong's local supermarkets over the winter period.
The shoppers and staff at Coles Belmont raised enough money to feed 18,200 Australians in this year's SecondBite Winter Appeal.
As a result, a large number of meals produced by food rescue organisation SecondBite will now be given to the Geelong Food Relief Centre.
SecondBite collects unsold, edible food from Coles and distributes it to around 1,300 charity and community partners across Australia, including the Geelong Food Relief Centre.
These partners ensure help and food goes to disadvantaged and underrepresented groups across the country such as families in crisis, elderly and low income people, refugees and asylum seekers, homeless people, Indigenous Australians and students.
Coles general manager for Victoria, Claire Lauber, gave praise to the shoppers of Coles Belmont, noting the company's gratitude that they have remained committed to the store over the past year.
"We can't thank our customers in Belmont/Geelong enough for the generosity shown in this year's campaign," Ms Lauber said.
"Funds raised will help make a real difference to SecondBite, so that they can continue to support local charity partners like Geelong Food Relief."
The numbers accumulated by the shoppers has put Coles Belmont in the top five fundraising stores in Victoria.
SecondBite ambassador and board director Matt Preston said the efforts by both Coles and its customers were truly humbling, particularly in these testing times.
"I can't thank shoppers and team members at Coles supermarkets, Liquorland, First Choice Liquor Market and Vintage Cellars enough for their incredible effort to get behind SecondBite and the essential work it does," he said.
"So many people are under pressure at the moment and yet Coles' customers and team members still dug deep for others and did their bit to ensure Australians aren't going hungry."
To date, SecondBite has rescued and distributed the equivalent of over 100 million meals.