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Warrnambool and District Food Share, a community based program of Foodbank Victoria, is on track to this year provide about 80,000 kilograms of free food to people in need in the south-west region, more than double the amount it distributed two years ago.
The program collects excess food from local supermarkets and green grocers to distribute to people who are doing it tough and finding it hard to make ends meet. The food is then provided to people through community groups such as Brophy Youth and Family Services, St Vincent de Paul, Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative, the Hamilton Uniting Church, and Loaves and Fishes in Portland.
Food Share’s executive officer Dedy Friebe said much of the increase was coming from struggling families, with about five percent of Warrnambool's population, roughly 1600 people, needing food relief from Food Share.
More than 1400 people received free food from Food Share through community agencies in the past three months, said Mr Friebe, with more than 600 hampers, each with about 40 kilograms of food and an average value of $300, distributed to over 150 groups. Approximately 14,500kg of the food came from seven local supermarkets and two fruit shops with Food Share’s parent organisation, Foodbank Victoria, supplying another 7000kg.
Foodbank Victoria chief executive officer David McNamara said working families and single parent families were the main recipients of the free food, with big rises in utility costs, mortgage stress, redundancies and family crises forcing more people to seek food relief.
Source: The Standard