Foodbank in dire straits

David SalvaireSound Telegraph

A week after launching a major campaign to restock its dwindling shelves, Peel Foodbank’s branch manager Megan Reynolds says more help is desperately needed.

The demand for the Peel Foodbanks’ services increased by an unprecedented 24 per cent at the start of this year, compared to last year.

The branch recently launched the 365 Days a Year awareness campaign aimed at keeping a constant flow of food coming into the Peel centre.

“It’s been an extremely busy start to the year, there’s been a huge increase in the number of people walking through our doors,” Mrs Reynolds said.

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“Our shelves are incredibly bare. We currently have a very high-need, high-turnover situation. As soon as we put food on the shelves, it disappears.”

About one tonne of food -— in some cases up to 4000 meals — is handed out by the Peel branch each day.

Since launching the campaign, the centre has seen a slight boost in donations, including a trolley of groceries, a cheque donation and enquiries about how to host a food drive to spread awareness.

But Mrs Reynolds said much more was needed so Foodbank could help hungry people in the region.

“While we are very pleased with the support received so far, unfortunately the food that was donated has already gone,” she said.

“If you’re wondering what to donate, we could really use things like tinned tuna, tinned vegetables and fruit and other non-perishable items that you would expect to see at your local grocery store.

“The growing, constant demand means we need donations of food and money all-year round, so that we can provide the volume and variety of food needed to provide a well-balanced meal for those people most in need.”

The Foodbank is also urging more local businesses and community members to show their support.

According to Mrs Reynolds, people from all walks of life are regularly seeking food relief.

She said the the axing of the Federal Government’s School-kids Bonus program had stretched many families’ finances, driving them into services like Food-bank.

“The Centrelink cash injection used to help low-income families pay for school essentials is gone,” she said. “Now we’ve got people coming in trying to work out how to best spend their budget of between three and five dollars, so that they can prepare a healthy, tasty meal for the family.”

If you’d like to organise a food drive call Foodbank on 9581 9200.

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