News

Foodbank appeals for volunteers

By Benalla Ensign

Foodbank Victoria offers a vital service to Benalla thanks, in no small part, to the work of volunteers.

The Ensign recently reported that the charity had donated more than 12000kg of food to the Benalla community in the past nine months alone.

They feed more than 100000 Victorians each month and are the oldest and largest provider of emergency food relief in the state.

This National Volunteer Week (May 21 to 27), Foodbank Victoria has released an online map to help link its charity partners with potential volunteers.

The map at www.foodbankvictoria. org.au/volunteer lists 134 Foodbank charity partners seeking volunteers.

It also lists 115 state primary schools who need additional help to run their school breakfast clubs, and includes Benalla P-12 College’s Avon St and Waller St Campuses.

Foodbank Victoria, in partnership with the Victorian Government, provides up to 50000 breakfasts a week through the school breakfast club program.

Volunteers are required for an hour before school to help set-up breakfast and socialise with the students.

Foodbank Victoria chief executive officer Dave McNamara said tens of thousands of Victorians would go hungry without the generosity of individuals motivated to make a positive contribution to their community.

‘‘At Foodbank we’re fortunate to have up to 30 volunteers a day helping in our warehouse,’’ Mr McNamara said.

‘‘Without them we simply wouldn’t be able to distribute the volume of food we do — the equivalent of one million meals each month.

‘‘We’re lucky to have such a solid base of volunteers.

‘‘However, we know many of our charity partners all around Victoria are desperate for more hands to help carry out their vital work.’’

A recent survey of Foodbank’s 400-plus charity partners in Victoria revealed 40 per cent relied on volunteers to deliver their food-relief programs — such as community pantries and soup kitchens— and 30 per cent were in need of more volunteers.

From Warrnambool to Wodonga to Orbost and everywhere in between, Mr McNamara encourages people to consider volunteering at a local charity.

‘‘There are a lot of amazing individuals out there who are the backbone of many charities, and the social services sector generally,’’ he said.

‘‘But with one in five children in Australia going hungry each year, the pressure on charities to do more is increasing.’’

●If you are in a position to help, visit www.foodbankvictoria.org.au/volunteer and fill out an application.