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