A prominent Mount Gambier business has come on board as a sponsor of Foodbank SA Limestone Coast. Van Schaik’s Bio Gro will provide sponsorship money for Foodbank meal packs, which are available in the Foodbank Food Hub in Mount Gambier.
The nutritious and affordable packs include ingredients and recipe teaching skills to cook basic meals. Foodbank Limestone Coast Branch Manager Lynne Neshoda said the funding allowed them to add three new recipes.
“It’s to support our meal packs so we can have more variety, more recipes,” she said. “The Bio Gro Meal Pack Program offered in the Limestone Coast is part of the wider Foodbank Meal Pack program supported state-wide by Australian Gas Networks.”
Ms Neshoda said she was ecstatic to have Bio Gro as a sponsor. “I really appreciate their offer of sponsorship to Foodbank, it’s great to have a local, family business support Foodbank that’s local to our region,” she said.
“There’s so many people in need and it’s growing, unfortunately, so to come on board with the meal packs is going to help feed more people. “Without businesses like Bio Gro we would not function, we need their support.
“Our community is so generous.” After Bio Gro business owners Stephen and Heather Van Schaik organised a tour with Ms Neshoda before Christmas through Barry Stafford, it showed them what Foodbank does to support the community.
“It was a no-brainer for Heather and I to make the decision that we wanted to be a part of it,” Mr Van Schaik said. “We feel proud of the fact that we can offer something back to the community that is for the community.”
Mr Van Schaik said Bio Gro staff would visit Foodbank each month to package the meal packs. “We’re keen for our staff to be a part of it as well,” he said. “I think that initiative will open their eyes up just like it opened our eyes up.”
Bio Gro has 130 employees, with around 100 employed locally and 30 based at the Melbourne operation. Mr Van Schaik said their Melbourne staff would also be involved with Foodbank.
Mr and Mrs Van Schaik are the second generation of the family-owned business, which was founded by Mr Van Schaik’s father in 1975.
Bio Gro is now regarded as one of the largest suppliers of premium growing media, mulches and composts in Australia, supplying mainly into SA, Victoria and New South Wales. The late Barry Maney OAM, who helped to establish Foodbank in Mount Gambier, was a mentor to Mr Van Schaik and Mr Van Schaik said he was keen to support an initiative that he kicked off.
“This is not just a short-term thing, this is a long-term prospect,” he said. “Our aim is to be supporting this organisation for a long time.”