These are the annual figures that FareShare has managed to reach in just over 15 years.
What’s more, all of the meals made by the organisation are donated to people in need.
FareShare was established in 2001, and is the brainchild of Guido Pozzebon and Steven Kolt, two men who were previously working on similar projects independently.
Inspired by a trip to the US in which he discovered New York City Harvest, Mr Kolt had already founded Melbourne City Harvest with the aim of recovering food from major events.
On the other hand, Mr Pozzebon had already begun taking his first steps in a similar direction, motivated by his own personal experience.
The story of the Italo-Australian is a little reminiscent of entrepreneurs of the 1980s and ’90s.
It all began in 2000, in the RACV Club kitchen, when Mr Pozzebon realised how much food was thrown away every day.
“The problem is that legally we couldn’t donate any of it, we could only throw it out,” he said.
Together with friends and colleagues, he decided to use the week’s leftover food to make pies every Sunday, when the club’s kitchen was vacant, to give to the Salvation Army and the St Vincent de Paul Society.
In the beginning, the group managed to bake between 200 and 500 pies, and they soon named themselves One Umbrella.
Mr Pozzebon and Mr Kolt met in 2001, and combined their two projects to create FareShare, hiring full-time staff and purchasing a refrigerated van.
“I didn't want to deliver the food directly to the poor, but to the associations which already do deliveries,” Mr Pozzebon said.
“These groups have difficulty finding food to donate and I knew where to find it.”
Over time, he found organisations which were happy to donate their leftover food to FareShare instead of throwing it away.
However, there was still a legal obstacle which complicated matters.
In 2002, FareShare collaborated with the Law Institute of Victoria to introduce Australia’s first Good Samaritan law to protect food donors.
Similar legislation has since been put in place in every other state and territory.
“There is still lots of work to be done by the government, however, because there is still so much food being wasted here in Australia and all over the world,” Mr Pozzebon explained.
Today, FareShare’s vision is to create a society where food is not wasted and no one goes hungry, while its mission is to rescue food that would otherwise be wasted, cook and distribute nutritious meals to people in need, and inspire and empower action on food rescue and hunger.
FareShare also aims to inspire authorities in the fight against food waste and hunger.
The Melbourne-based organisation rescues quality food surplus from supermarkets, farmers and other businesses and operates Australia’s largest charity kitchen.
In 2018, FareShare will go national, opening a new production kitchen capable of cooking 5 million meals a year in Brisbane.
The organisation currently has 670 regular volunteers and prepares 5000 free meals a day which are distributed to food vans, homeless shelters women’s refuges and community food banks.
The organisation is a way in which Mr Pozzebon can give back while still engaging with his passion: patisserie.
Mr Pozzebon was born in Melbourne to migrants, and his father came to Australia from Treviso in the 1950s.
From a young age, his father passed on to him a passion for Italian cuisine and also for the small town he hails from, which he has honoured through years of service to the Veneto Club in Bulleen, including a stint as president.
“My father turns 80 this year and we will go to his birthplace to celebrate,” Mr Pozzebon said.
“I can’t wait to go and discover new Italian pasticcerie, even if my family get tired of entering every pastry shop that I see.”
Though Mr Pozzebon’s family may tire of pastries, they place great importance on the idea behind FareShare.
With the opening of FareShare Kitchen Gardens, three urban sites where a range of vegetables are grown, even his daughter Catia is getting involved, helping plant the seeds and grow the produce.