MORE people are needing help with sourcing food as cost of living pressures hit south-west residents.
Warrnambool and District Foodshare has revealed it has distributed 74 tonnes of food in the first five months of 2023, eight tonnes more than for the same period in 2022. The food supported 18,575 adults and 10,931 children.
The organisation has provided 33,209 meals and received 40,717 community donations.
It says volunteers have worked 2711 hours, almost 500 more for the five months compared with the same period last year.
The data comes after the Reserve Bank lifted interest rates to an 11-year high on Tuesday, June 6 to 4.1 per cent. It is the 12th interest rate rise in 13 months.
Warrnambool and District Foodshare executive officer Amanda Hennessy said there was high demand for food because rising living costs were putting additional pressures on residents.
The increase in food distribution reflects new data showing Foodbank Victoria is feeding more than the equivalent of an MCG AFL grand final crowd every two days.
St Vincent de Paul Glenelg region president Bryan Roberts said the eight-tonne increase in FoodShare's total distribution wasn't surprising.
He said in the first half of the year across the Glenelg region, which includes Warrnambool and Koroit, St Vincent de Paul had "given out a great deal more" in assistance this year, compared with last year.
"The main area is food costs," Mr Roberts said. "Assistance with utility costs has increased but the most substantial increase is in food costs - in the amount of assistance we're giving and the amount it's costing us in purchasing food for people.
"In view of Tuesday's rate rise and the forthcoming rise in fuel costs, diesel and petrol, that will make things even worse."
Brauer College's VCE Vocational Major students have been learning about the economic crisis impacts and the need for donated food. They presented Foodshare with 483 kilograms of food and $300 they had collected as part of a student-led project on behalf of the school community.
Teacher Andrew Stephen said the year 12 students also discussed the food required in emergency situations and had a "first-hand experience" packing relief hampers at an earlier visit.
They returned on Wednesday to donate and sort their haul, which included breakfast cereals, spreads and snacks, which were "very valuable" and used in school breakfast programs across the region.
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