For many of us, the festive season is all about food. Friends and family sit down for a big lunch and enjoy the summer break. 

Yet for some 2 million Australians, the Christmas meal isn’t easy.

It’s top of mind at Foodbank, an organisation that distributes a whopping 26 million kilos of food a year, or approximately 93,700 meals a day. Making it happen is an army of 100 daily volunteers who work at 11 warehouses across the country.

Foodbank’s Business & Communications Manager, Sarah Pennell, said hunger isn’t seen to be a big problem in Australia. “It is a real issue, though - one that we should feel responsible for and capable of sorting out,” she said.

Foodbank acts as a bridge between the food industry and charities, collecting surplus and donated items and sorting and packing them in their warehouses.

Charities can place orders in real time on the web, and then collect their goods in person or have them delivered where needed.

It’s an operation that runs all year, but this time of year Foodbank encourages the food industry to donate a bit more to help people celebrate the festive season.

“We want to help create hope and self esteem, and the ability to start the New Year in a positive way,” Sarah explained.

Last summer Foodbank focused on people in Tasmania. Bushfires cut off some communities, leaving them in desperate need of food and supplies.

Shipping containers packed with food from around Australia were sent to Hobart from its Melbourne warehouse then delivered to people on the island at emergency centres.

In addition to donated food, Foodbank manufactures key staples with the help of companies like Coca-Cola Amatil, who last financial year donated 934,627 kilos making 1,246,170 meals. Cash donations and food drives by members of the public are also essential to the charity.

“If you donate a can of food, you can be absolutely confident that it will end up in the hands of someone who needs it,” explained Sarah.

“We often have people arriving at the warehouse with a laundry basket of food, all the way up to large companies donating hundreds of pallets.”

Despite a well-organised network and generous donors, Foodbank is concerned about the growing number of Australians seeking its help.

In 2013 Foodbank surveyed its 2,600 charity partners and discovered approximately 65,000 people per month are being turned away due to lack of supplies.

“Our goal is that anyone who seeks help for something as basic as food will not go without in Australia,” Sarah said.

Visit Foodbank to find out how you can help.