Needy families and elderly people in the Hawkesbury are being provided with food hampers courtesy of a hard-working group of local volunteers who are saving edible items from going to waste.
Ailsa Dodwell of South Windsor has been volunteering with charity Hunter Hampers for the past six months, collecting perfectly good food that would otherwise be thrown out by local supermarkets and creating hampers for those in need.
"We get the food from Aldi and Coles, mainly. It's things that are very close to their use by date or just out of date, or vegetables that might not look quite right," she explained.
"We collect them all, bring them home and make up hampers.
"The rule is that we would not give anything to anyone that we wouldn't eat ourselves. I'd say 95 per cent of it is perfectly fine."
Started by Annangrove resident Donna Hunter about 12 months ago, Hunter Hampers now has about 18 volunteers mainly from The Hills, Hawkesbury and Blacktown areas distributing hampers to locals in need.
"People reach out to us if they're struggling ... We have members of our Facebook group that comment for a hamper," Ms Dodwell said.
"There are quite a few elderly people, a lot of mums with kids, a lot of families. Demand for our service is growing, it's something we can never keep up with, it's never-ending.
"We love to help as many people as we can."
Demand for our service is growing, it's something we can never keep up with, it's never-ending.Ailsa Dodwell
Ms Dodwell mainly provides hampers to those living in the Hawkesbury area, however people have travelled to her from out of the region in the past. While the service obviously assists those in need, Ms Dodwell said she was pleased it also saved edible food simply being thrown away.
"As well as helping people we are saving all this food from going to waste. It's a win-win thing," she said. "It's so rewarding being able to help people this way."
There are several Hawkesbury hamper volunteers, including two local ladies from Bligh Park and Kurrajong respectively, and more people are always welcome to lend a hand.
Ms Dodwell can travel from Baulkham Hills to Blacktown in any given week to pick up food from supermarkets; last Friday alone she visited four different Aldi stores with a trailer. Helping out is a part of her nature, as Ms Dodwell is also an admin for Hawkesbury Pay it Forward.
Those interested in helping can contact the group via Facebook by searching for Hunter Hampers.