Food relief organisation OzHarvest has made the difficult decision to postpone its flagship fundraising event the CEO CookOff, due to take place at Sydney’s Carriageworks on Monday 30 March.

For the past eight years, the event has brought together Australia’s business leaders and top chefs to serve gourmet food to those impacted by bushfires, drought and flooding.

However, in the wake of the ongoing public health threat from the Coronavirus and before the ban on events over 500 had been announced, OzHarvest Founder and CEO Ronni Kahn AO decided that the safety and wellbeing of guests, CEOs, teams, chefs, volunteers, staff and suppliers must come first.

“After such a devastating summer, we knew there would be a huge need to provide essential resources and food to support both drought and fire-affected communities and organisations.

“There is no doubt this will be our most challenging year, as food insecurity is being felt now more than ever in the history of Australia.”

This is the first time in nine years that the CEO CookOff will not go ahead in March.

The mission of OzHarvest is to ‘Nourish our Country’ – from ensuring people in need are receiving food to protecting the planet from waste.

“We have done everything we can to deliver on this promise for over 15 years and we rely on the crucial funds raised from CEO CookOff to help underwrite all that we do,” Ronni explains.

As a result of the postponement, OzHarvest could find itself A$2 million behind what it needs to continue to service vulnerable individuals, families and charitable organisations – at a time when they need it most.

“Demand has never been greater for our services and the pressure on our own resources has never been more severe.

“Without your wonderful support, we cannot continue our impact and we need your help now more than ever,” urges Ronni.

“This is why I have a simple ask – our wonderful friends, colleagues, business leaders and supporters – to please, stay with us and keep up your fundraising going to help us reach our A$3 million goal.

“We urge you to use your networks now and keep 30 March as the goal to hit our target – the website is live and taking donations, with nearly A$800,000 raised so far.”

A date for the OzHarvest CEO CookOff will be set later in the year when the threat of infection from coronavirus has subsided and public health is no longer at risk.

“Together, we are stronger, and will endure these times,” says Ronni.

“And when the worst is over, we will come together to celebrate with a fantastic event filled with hope, love and recognising the power of our community.”

For further updates and to make donations to support OzHarvest, go here.