AN Elizabeth South project to feed about 10, 000 struggling families each week will create about 175 of jobs and provide training for locals.
The AGesture-SecondBite warehouse, run in partnership with Playford Council and Playford Alive, opened its Wiley St warehouse last week.
The warehouse will take delivery of more than 20, 000 kgs of surplus food from 21 Coles supermarkets and local food outlets across Adelaide each week.
Staff will sort, pack and distribute food to agencies to feed about 10, 000 families.
Operations manager Mark Davis said agencies receiving food varied from kindergartens and schools to welfare groups and food co-ops.
"The best thing is we get to see the pressure we take off other services in the area, " Mr Davis said.
"The average agency triples the number of people they can feed when they get food from us."
SecondBite has been running interstate warehouses since 2005 and has distributed about 4.5 million kgs of surplus food.
A 2009 report by The Australian Institute found Australians waste more than $5 billion of food each year while about 1.2 million people do not have access to affordable nutritious food.
Mr Davis said the Elizabeth South warehouse would be the largest of its kind in Australia within a few months.
The 1500sq m warehouse is kitted out with training rooms and job search areas.
About 75 school-based apprenticeships and 100 traineeships will be on offer each year with Certificate II and III qualifications available in areas including warehousing, food safety, and forklift operation.
Jobs at the site are offered through job service providers and disability employment agencies with about 10 staff already on board.
He said many of the staff also took food parcels home to their families.
"It's a double social whammy, " Mr Hall said.
"They get the education and training they need and they are feeding people more vulnerable than themselves.
"What they are doing is having serious social benefits out in the community."
Playford Mayor Glenn Docherty said the project was a "significant opportunity for young people" to gain work.
"It's not only providing training and employment but also an opportunity to give people in need healthy food, " Mr Docherty said.
NORTHERN MESSENGER SEPTEMBER 11, 2013