The demand for food relief at Bunbury’s Foodbank is 21% up on the same time last year. Sadly, it’s a sign of the economic times. In an effort to keep up with demand, Foodbank is launching its 365 days a year awareness campaign asking people not to just think of them and donate during their winter and Christmas appeals but all year round.
Carol Hearn has been the Foodbank Bunbury’s Branch Manager for six years and she can’t remember there being a busier time.
“We are so busy, it’s bulldust crazy. It feels like we’re the busiest we’ve ever been. February was unbelievable and March is the same. This week it hasn’t stopped, to be honest I don’t know when it’s going to stop. It’s sad, because if we’re busy, it means things aren’t good out there. We had someone come in with $4 in their purse, that’s all they had left to spend on food. What can you do with that?” said Carol.
“We’ve had days where we’ve sold up to 6,000 kilograms of food, that’s the equivalent of 12,000 meals. Thankfully, our donors have been fantastic, we keep asking them for more and they keep giving it to us, but I’m worried there might come a time when they say, we haven’t got any more to give.”
Carol said that given the tough economic times, there’s no such thing as a typical Foodbank customer, they come from all walks of life.
“It’s not just the elderly and the unemployed. We have everyday people coming in, people who have jobs but are struggling to make ends meet. There are those who are underemployed or just casually employed. And trust me, just because someone pulls up in a fancy car doesn’t mean they’re not doing it tough.”
Tellingly, Carol added that there was no sign of the problems going away and that’s why Foodbank Bunbury has launched its 365 days a year, awareness campaign.
“We believe that giving doesn’t have to end at Christmas. 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,” said Carol.
“Bunbury people are passionate and compassionate, so if you can afford to dig a little deeper, that would be great. And there are lots of ways people can help, because every little bit helps. Schools, sports clubs and work places can hold food drives where people can bring in cans of non-perishable goods that get donated to us. If you can help, tinned fish and vegetables and spreads would come in really handy.
“Or you could hold a sausage sizzle and donate the money to us. We then have the power of being able to buy rice and pasta and other food staples in bulk. Or if you’re moving home and don’t want to take your food with you, give it to us, we’ll put it to very good use."
If you’d like to organise a food drive or hold a sausage sizzle for Bunbury Foodbank call 9726 2362.