Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, international visa hospitality workers and other people in need in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, have relied on Hope Delivery for sustenance. But despite having prepared more than 300,000 meals, the community program had yet to find a permanent home from which to operate until recently when Stockland stepped in to help.

“We’re grateful that Stockland has provided a prime tenancy within their Piccadilly CBD retail precinct so we can continue with the great work we do with Hope Delivery. We’ve been searching since late last year for a location that has a kitchen suitable to accommodate the number of meals we need to produce, but also with a separate area where our volunteers have enough space to package the food for distribution,” explained chef and restaurateur, Neil Perry.

“Our new location at Piccadilly will allow us to produce upwards of 5,000 meals per week for those most vulnerable in our community, which is really exceptional.” 

Part of Stockland Picadilly‘s appeal is its CBD location, which makes it easy for volunteers to reach. It also gives the charity access to a new clientele.

“For the first time, we’ll also be selling our food for purchase to CBD workers, which will help us to fund even more charitable meals. We’re excited to offer more ways for the community to get involved, whether it be through donations, volunteering, or—soon—through purchasing meals to take home,” Perry noted.

For Louise Mason, Stockland’s group executive and CEO of commercial property, the plan makes sense given the expanded role that centers now play.

“COVID-19 has forced the retail industry to think differently about its shopping centers and consider new ways to utilize space that help make it more of a destination and remain relevant in such a challenged environment,” she noted.

“Our purpose at Stockland is to create ‘a better way to live’ and this was the perfect opportunity to do just that through supporting such a critical local initiative. Hope Delivery will not only improve the lives of those most vulnerable in our community but will also offer customers a novel, feel-good option for meal purchases. We’re proud to curate spaces within our retail assets to best serve our customers and communities and will continue to evaluate new ways to remix our centers to ensure that we’re maximizing potential.”

Hope Delivery cooks and boxes the meals, but it also relies on other groups to ensure that its packages get to those who need them most, partners like OzHarvest, a food rescue organization that’s on the recipient list.

“Neil and his team have supported OzHarvest since its inception and we’re thrilled to be part of this project. The impact of COVID-19 [means we have] seen many people turning to charities for the first time in their lives, and demand for our services went through the roof at a time when our resources were under pressure,” said founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn AO.

“Hope Delivery is supporting our emergency food relief services by providing around 5,000 cooked meals each week, on top of what we cook at OzHarvest. The meals are individually portioned and made with fresh and nutritious ingredients, providing immediate nourishment for some of the most vulnerable in our community.”

Hope Delivery has a permanent staff of four and counts on the daily support of up to a dozen additional helpers as well as corporate volunteers.