Charities demand outpaces supply
A high level of demand for emergency food relief has Karratha charities concerned they may not be able to keep up supply in the lead-up to the holiday period, as funding runs short.
Last month, Pilbara Community Legal Service chief executive Nanette Williams said the service was “constantly” receiving requests for emergency food relief from its Karratha Emergency Relief Organisation-funded supply, and demand had reached the point where its latest round of funding had run out halfway through the assigned six-month allocation period.
That has left them with no food to give between August and the end of November, besides what additional one-off donations from local charities have been able to provide.
“We are over-allocated ... the demand has been that high that instead of allocating our monthly allocation, we’ve gone over it,” she said.
“So therefore we couldn’t allocate in August, we can’t allocate in September or October.
“The demand was greater than the funds.”
The Salvation Army Karratha was forced to call for community assistance in April this year after demand for emergency food supplies during the Christmas period depleted its budget months in advance.
Salvation Army Karratha captain Niall Gibson said demand levels had remained about the same and admitted “the same thing could happen this year”, though the charity was hoping to avoid that by setting up donation arrangements with supermarkets and food cages in Karratha City Shopping Centre, early on.
“If we don’t, we’ll run out of food again next year,” he said.
Capt. Gibson said its food supply service was helping an average of four families a week at the moment, though a reduction in its operating hours may be putting strain on other emergency relief groups in town.
Mrs Williams said she hoped to get a food distribution centre such as Foodbank WA into the region, as part of a social justice complex that PCLS is planning to build in the Karratha CBD.
She said the lack of resources put relief services such as PCLS in a difficult position.