Fruit Box Group is set to deliver 25,000 boxes of fresh food...

Fruit Box Group is set to deliver 25,000 boxes of fresh food to 1,000 disadvantaged Australian families with ‘The One Box’

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Martin Halphen

One thousand disadvantaged Australian families will receive a weekly box of fresh food basics, under a new Fruit Box Group CSR initiative launching this May.

Called ‘The One Box’, this initiative aims to provide ongoing, sustainable support to help families live better. Around 5% of Australians experience food insecurity and healthy food habits are especially financially challenging for low income families who need to spend a third of their income to eat well (Australian Institute of Family Studies*).

Under the initiative, The Fruit Box Group will donate 25,000 boxes of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk and bread over the course of 2017. The group is investing up to $400,000 in the pilot program in Melbourne and will assess its impact as it is rolled out, with a view to a national program and a public charity in the future.

From humble beginnings in 2000 as a fresh-fruit home-delivery service with around 300 customers in Melbourne, The Fruit Box Group has grown to become Australia’s leading, premium quality, workplace fruit and milk delivery company. The organisation now has a national footprint; delivering around 30,000 orders per week of fruit, milk, bread and perishable consumables to workplaces across Australia; and a current turnover in excess of $50m.

What is The One Box aimed at achieving?

Wellbeing is at the heart of The Fruit Box business which was founded on the idea that fresh fruit in the office would encourage healthy snacking. In 2007, The Fruit Box began to explore ways to give back to the community through food rescue programs – it currently donates 3 tonnes of fruit (15-20,000 pieces of fruit) per week to organisations such as Fareshare and Oz Harvest. But CEO and founder, Martin Halphen, felt there was still more that could be done.

Strong business growth – which has seen the company go from a fresh fruit domestic delivery service with around 300 customers in 2000, to a national workplace delivery company with a current turnover in excess of $50m – is now enabling ‘The One Box’ initiative.

“As our business grows, so does our corporate social responsibility,” Halphen says, “In a plentiful country like Australia, it’s shocking that so many families are going without. We believe that one box of fresh produce each week can make a real difference to families in need, hopefully creating a healthy foundation for children now and having a lifetime influence on health.”

The Fruit Box Group has worked closely with local community agencies to identify the initial 1,000 families. Key collaborations with Fareshare for distribution of the boxes and La Trobe Business School – which will collect and analyse impact data over the program’s first 25 weeks – strengthen this innovative CSR program.

Sharee Grinter of West Footscray Neighbourhood House, one of the partner agencies involved says, “This kind of valuable support from businesses to services like ours gives us greater capacity to offer tangible support to more families.”

“With fresh food so expensive it’s often the first to fall off the list when resources are stretched, so a weekly box of good quality nutritious food will have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of families in need,” Grinter says.

Martin Halphen hopes ‘The One Box’ will also bring wider corporate and community attention to the difficulties so many Australian families face accessing fresh food and also show that it is easy to make social good a part of good business.

The partner agencies involved in selecting and working with the 1000 families receiving ‘The One Box’ are: Kingston City Church; Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place; West Footscray Neighbourhood House; Patience Community Services in Sunshine and Epping; Les Twentyman Foundation; North Point Centre; Hope City Mission.

‘The One Box’ will be launched officially on 18 May 2017 at The Fruit Box Group’s Melbourne Headquarters in Kensington.

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