Foodshare keeps on helping

August 09, 2017

Foodshare Volunteers Frank Wallace and Joe Neuwirth with the emergency food bags.

Manager of MHA Careís Moira Foodshare and Yarrawonga opportunity shop, Robin Harwood.

Moira Foodshare staff and volunteers have been busy this year, providing emergency food bags for families in tough circumstances.

MHA Care’s Moira Foodshare and Yarrawonga opportunity shop manager Robin Harwood said the relief organisation was busy sourcing food from a variety of places to keep up.

‘‘We are finding we are getting more and more demand for our services,’’ Mr Harwood said.

‘‘We get food from Foodbank in Melbourne, Simplot, Campbell’s Soups, SPC and local donors as well — orchardists give us fruit from time to time,’’ he said.

‘‘They are usually delivered or we go and collect them and once the donations are here we then sort through the food that we have and make up these emergency packs from a variety of non-perishable products.

‘‘They will last quite a while, so we give them to service providers and they can store them on their premises for when they have families or individuals coming in that need food, they can hand these out and let them take them away.

‘‘From time to time we add to these with perishable products like fruit, vegetables — just whatever is available at the time.’’

Mr Harwood said the emergency bags had been produced for a number of years.

‘‘All together, we are providing around 210000 adult equivalent meals per year — that’s around $2 to 2.5 million of food,’’ he said.

‘‘Two things that have happened recently, we’ve had the closing of the JBS abattoirs here in Cobram that has affected over 300 families — it has ramifications right across the board.

‘‘Not only the employees, but their families, their relatives — it affects a lot of people.

‘‘The other thing we’ve had going recently is the dairy crisis, with the reduction in the farm gate price for milk products.

‘‘Those two things have had a big impact on us here.

‘‘Also, in the past we have had disasters like floods, fires and tornadoes, plus just generally we’ve got our normal day-to-day people like people who have lost their jobs, people with serious illness, single parent families ... people who are just doing it tough financially.

‘‘So we have a variety of families and individuals right across the board that need our support.’’

Mr Harwood said Moira Foodshare currently had a good supply of food.

‘‘We’re in a fortunate position with good supply and a great band of volunteers who put it all together and get it out to service providers so they can get it out to the community,’’ he said.

‘‘The suppliers are fantastic — we’d be lost without them.

‘‘Thanks to Foodbank Victoria, Campbell’s Soups in Shepparton, SPC, Simplot, Unilever — all these companies have been fantastic.

‘‘And then we have individuals that support us, too.

‘‘They support us in giving us food or money, and with all this support it means we can carry on.

‘‘A special thanks must also go to IK Caldwell, who generously sponsor our warehouse in Cobram.

‘‘Moira Shire plays a very large role with MHA Care, too, in supporting us to make sure we can support the community.

‘‘Our volunteers are incredible. I can’t speak highly enough of them, they are really wonderful.

‘‘Their role is to help us pick up food from different places, to put the packages together, to put these hampers together and from there they help us distribute them.

‘‘They might drop them off or they might arrange for the service providers to come and get them from the warehouse or the shop, so they play a crucial role in getting these hampers out into the community.’’

- Grahame Whyte

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