Service from the heart

Adelaide Venue Management, operator of Adelaide Convention Centre, ties up with community catering companies to deliver food to the vulnerable

Adelaide Convention Centre's executive chef, Gavin Robertson: keeping busy.

ADELAIDE - One of South Australia's largest venue management organisations, Adelaide Venue Management (AVM), will produce up to 18,000 three-course meals each week to support community catering organisations, enabling them to continue delivering food for the state's most vulnerable and keep staff employed.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Adelaide Venue Management (AVM) - operators of the Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide Entertainment Centre and Coopers Stadium - have repurposed their venues and are using their commercial kitchens to make meals for organisations facing unprecedented demand, including Meals on Wheels SA.

Meals on Wheels' three-course meal costs AS$4.75 (US$2.95), with the NDIS contribution being $10.25 for those who qualify for the scheme. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funds expenses associated with disability.

Mr Anthony Kirchner, CEO, Adelaide Venue Management, said: "AVM is providing the meals on a commercial basis. AVM set about repurposing its venues upon seeing the issues it faced in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak and the government restrictions that followed.

"AVM sees its role to manage its venues for the social and commercial benefit of South Australians, and the opportunity to assist with the provision of emergency food supplies allows us to continue to make a valuable contribution at this time, while also keeping our team very busy and gainfully employed."

Foodbank SA is a supporting partner in this initiative and is using their refrigerated vehicles to collect meals from AVM's kitchens and to transport them to Meals on Wheels' main distribution points. The first collection commenced on April 7.

AVM's innovative contribution of meals to the community is enabling dozens of staff to remain employed. Credit: Simon Casson Photography/Adelaide Convention Centre

All meals will be prepared by Adelaide Venue Management's kitchen teams and made in accordance with current vulnerable persons guidelines, ensuring the food is nutritious and healthy.

The organisation's goodwill will keep about 60 people in jobs that may otherwise be on Jobseeker Centrelink payments.

Minister for Human Services, Ms Michelle Lensink, said: "This a fantastic example of a South Australian organisation stepping up to help the community at this unprecedented time.

"We know community catering organisations like Meals on Wheels are experiencing a huge spike in demand for their nutritious food delivery services as people, particularly vulnerable South Australians, self-isolate at home to stay safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

"Not only is Adelaide Venue Management contributing tens of thousands of meals to the community at this time, their innovation is enabling dozens of staff to remain in jobs - and that's great news."

Adelaide Venue Management CEO, Mr Anthony Kirchner, said his company is pleased to be able to help the South Australian community at this time.

"We have a responsibility to support the South Australian community and make the best use of our considerable resources," said Mr Kirchner.

"Across our venues, we have access to some of the biggest kitchens in the state, along with a highly trained team, who are at the ready to assist South Australians in important ways."

Adelaide Venue Management is urging other community organisations to contact them if they need meal preparation support. "We are reaching out to various companies and community groups where we have identified a possible need to see if we can lend them a hand in these challenging times," said Mr Kirchner.

"We'll transition back to our regular business activities when the appropriate time comes, but for now, we're focused on repurposing our venues to support the community and look after the wellbeing of our employees."

Meals on Wheels SA CEO, Ms Sharyn Broer, said the new partnership strengthens the existing food supply chain so local communities can continue to be supported at this challenging time.

"Together we're focussed on providing comfort through good food to South Australians in need," she said.

"This will help relieve some of the pressure on Meals on Wheels volunteers who are already doing an amazing job but are facing a state-wide increase in demand for our services.

"In the past two weeks we've seen a 250% increase in new customer registrations and South Australians are registering every day as the full impacts of COVID-19 take hold.

"This partnership also allows us to deliver more frozen meals, and fewer hot meals, to reduce the frequency of home visits in the interests of public health and safety.

We want to ensure isolated and vulnerable South Australians don't go hungry and encourage anyone having difficultly preparing their meals at home to get in touch with us."