Food­bank needs do­na­tions

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Jon Sol­mund­son

Ger­ald­ton Food­bank’s stores are run­ning down to the low­est lev­els of stock in years and dire eco­nomic con­di­tions and the pos­si­ble in­tro­duc­tion of the cash­less wel­fare card mean things could get even worse, ac­cord­ing to re­gional man­ager Pat Hodges.

The char­ity’s shelves lay bar­ren and ev­ery morn­ing the line of needy fam­i­lies and un­em­ployed work­ers left in the wake of the flag­ging min­ing boom stretches out the door.

Ms Hodges said there was an av­er­age of 25 peo­ple a day be­ing re­ferred to Food­bank by the agen­cies they pro­vided food vouch­ers to, but they can’t keep up with de­mand.

“It’s the worst I’ve seen our shelves in three or four years,” she said.

“Com­pared to the same time last year, we’re prob­a­bly down 25 per cent on food do­na­tions.

“We need shelf-sta­ble foods, we’re talk­ing about tins of baked beans, spaghetti, tinned meats, ce­real, soup, all those sorts of things.

“If ev­ery per­son in Ger­ald­ton do­nated two cans of food, we’d be able to make it through the win­ter months with­out a prob­lem.”

What re­mains on Food­bank shelves at present is mostly chips, bis­cuits and soft drink, which are not pur­chasable with food vouch­ers, and don’t have the nu­tri­tional value of the canned soups, beans and meats which make up the bulk of Food­bank ham­pers.

Ms Hodges said chil­dren were los­ing out in par­tic­u­lar, with no lunch sup­plies for them to take to school.

“We’re see­ing more and more young fam­i­lies with small chil­dren,” she said. “I think it’s going to get worse. “There’s been a lot of gos­sip going around about a few of the busi­nesses around town going un­der.

“If those busi­nesses are putting off their work­ers then more and more peo­ple will be com­ing to us for food, and we’re hav­ing trou­ble keep­ing up as it is. “We’re talk­ing about lo­cal peo­ple, lo­cal jobs — this isn’t fly-in, fly-out peo­ple.”

Food­bank is plan­ning to es­tab­lish food col­lec­tion bins out­side lo­cal su­per­mar­kets in the com­ing weeks and shop­pers are en­cour­aged to do­nate non-per­ish­able canned goods for those in need.

Pic­ture: Jon Sol­mund­son

Paul Nevill and Pat Hodges the Ger­ald­ton Food­bank, which is run­ning out of ba­sic sup­plies.

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