Stockbroker Turned 'Robin Hood' Of Food Feeding Australia's Hungry
ten daily spent a day with Steve Negrine as he rescued and re-distributed food all over Sydney.
Steve Negrine is full of zest. His energy is contagious.
We first meet in a dark, smelly supermarket loading zone and he is excitedly trawling through produce on his knees.
He quickly bounces up.
"I'm a driver for Ozharvest, I pick up food and I give it to the vulnerable."
"Sensational this is sensational," he tells ten daily as he squeezes two onions in each hand.
"I feel fantastic knowing that people are going to eat this food that would have ended up in landfill."
At the moment, Negrine is 'rescuing' food that would otherwise have been thrown out by Woolworths. He has a growing list of charities that rely on his food deliveries.
He is fit, in his 50s and the kind of man you'd usually see wearing a suit headed into the boardroom.
Steve IMAGE: Antoinette Lattouf
"Oh this is beaut," he says opening and smelling a punnet of organic cherry tomatoes.
"They have a best before date on the fruit and vegetables, but you can see these things are perfect but they can not have them on their shelves after that date, so it works out very well for Ozharvest," he said.
Negrine has been driving for the food relief agency for more than six years, after ill-health saw him take a break from corporate life. He never went back to his stockbroking trade of 20 years.
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"I've done enough of that life of deals and trying to make money and there's more to life than that. You need your health and you need a bit of happiness and I love to bring happiness to people's lives and that's what I do bringing them food," he said.
Each year, food relief agency OzHarvest delivers around seven million kilograms of rescued food.
One-third of the world’s available food either spoils or gets thrown away before it ever reaches a plate. If it was all collected and re-distributed it would be enough to feed every person on the planet for two months.
The face of hunger in Australia is diverse -- it affects men, women, children, the elderly, single people and families, students, employed, unemployed and the retired.
"There are so many different people struggling in Australia and every day you see something new. I'm definitely seeing part of Sydney that I wasn't aware of and it's good giving back," he said.
High risk groups include people with disabilities, refugees and Indigenous Australians.
Regular pit stops for Negrine's food collections include supermarkets, cafes, bakeries, hotels and even airlines.
We stop at a centre for children with special needs. The carers greet Negrine like he is family and he boasts about today's offering -- "good for a sheperd's pie" he suggests.
"The kids we are feeding here have intellectual disabilities but we do, do a huge variety of different charities that I give food to, people who are doing it tough. On Fridays I give to a church that feeds about 100 people that are doing it tough."
The main recipients of food relief are individuals and families who generally have low incomes or are unemployed -- but it's not just those who are homeless.
"There's more to this job than just picking up food and delivering it. You form a bond with the people eating and the charities that you're delivering food to," he said.
Featured Image: Antoinette Lattouf
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