Food­bank de­mand on rise

Southern Telegraph - - Front Page - David Sal­vaire

De­mand for Peel Food­bank’s emer­gency food re­lief has in­creased by al­most 25 per cent in the past year and it ap­pears there is no end in sight.

Peel Food­bank man­ager Deb­bie Burns said more peo­ple were walk­ing through the store’s front door but the same amount of food was com­ing in through the back.

“We’ve got a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent peo­ple com­ing to us for help. There’s a lot of work­ing poor, sin­gle par­ents, fam­i­lies, older aged peo­ple, as well as peo­ple who lost their jobs after the min­ing boom,” she said. “We’re see­ing an in­crease in peo­ple com­ing in with emer­gency re­lief vouch­ers. While they might not get the food they need or want, we never turn any­one away.

“We’re get­ting up to 140 peo­ple com­ing in ev­ery day and it doesn’t look like slow­ing down.

“We’re re­ally short of fruit and veg­eta­bles and sim­ple break­fast ce­re­als like Weet-Bix. We also need sim­ple sta­ples like pasta — es­pe­cially over win­ter, we go through lots of pasta.”

Ms Burns said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was en­cour­ag­ing lo­cal busi­nesses, com­mu­nity groups and schools to host a Food­bank Food Drive to col­lect food for those who were strug­gling for a meal.

“Ev­ery lit­tle bit helps — if a fam­ily who can af­ford it can do­nate a can or two a week, it will make a real dif­fer­ence to peo­ple in need,” she said.

After launch­ing Food­bank’s 2017 Win­ter Ap­peal in May, chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Heb­ble said de­mand for its ser­vices re­mained among the high­est in the State.

“Last financial year, we de­liv­ered over 6.4 mil­lion meals to peo­ple in need — that works out to be more than 26,000 meals a day,” he said. “This al­lows us to feed 53,000 Western Aus­tralians ev­ery month, 22,000 of them are chil­dren. But de­mand out­strips sup­ply and more than 7000 peo­ple go hun­gry be­cause we don’t have enough food.

“Sadly, I can’t see the de­mand for our ser­vices end­ing soon. De­mand for food is all year round, as peo­ple are re­ally strug­gling to keep on top of their bills and keep a roof over their heads.

“The good news is ev­ery $10 do­nated can help pro­vide 20 meals.

“For most of us, $10 is what we would spend on lunch or cof­fee, how­ever we will make this go a long way thanks to our part­ner­ships with farm­ers, re­tail­ers, man­u­fac­tur­ers and the Gov­ern­ment.”

Visit food­bankwa.org.au or call Ms Burns to or­gan­ise a food drive on 9581 9200.

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