Demand on Warrnambool FoodShare for groceries from people in need is continuing to grow but the service is responding well to the need, the community group says.
In its 2018 annual report, FoodShare said it had delivered 3800 hampers so far this year, 175 more than last year. Each hamper has about three boxes of food.
The hampers have gone to 1600 families, or more than 9400 people.
FoodShare chairman Ray Lougheed said the increase in hampers “was indicative of the times we live in with many families finding it difficult to manage on a daily basis.”
FoodShare had become an essential organisation in the lives of many recipients, he said.
Volunteer numbers have also increased, including the number of corporate volunteers, who had contributed 3600 hours of service.
However Mr Lougheed said the service’s increasing workload had put its organisational capacity under stress and it was seeking a part-time assistant to help its full-time executive officer, Dedy Friebe.
It was also seeking a bigger shed for its operations, he said.
Mr Friebe said the community and FoodShare responded amazingly well to the St Patrick’s Day fires in March.
“Eight months later we are still involved with the Shire of Moyne and South West Healthcare in providing essential food support to families affected by these ravaging fires.
“The first 100 days post-St Patricks Day saw us both distributing food to families affected but also supplying food for the BlazeAid community kitchens,” Mr Friebe said.
The annual report said 758 groups, such as schools, church groups and soup kitchens, had accessed FoodShare. The top three community agencies accessing it are St Vincent de Paul, Brophy Family Services and Southwest Health Care.
Food hampers were distributed across the south-west from Portland, to Hamilton, Heywood, Mortlake, Cobden, Derrinallum and Simpson.
So far this year 125 tonnes of food have been distributed, 85 tonnes of which has been provided by national food relief group Foodbank and supermarkets.