FoodShare volunteers give back to flood affected community
Recent flood waters has forced many regional Victorian families to relocate or remain isolated on their properties. After a visit to FoodShare Shepparton, it’s clear that the importance for food relief is more important than ever.
FoodShare are a state-wide organisation rescuing and receiving donations of fresh and nutritious food and redistributing it to those in need in the Goulburn Valley. Behind this multi-level organisation is a powerhouse of volunteers. FoodShare team member Glenn volunteers a few days a week and loves being able to give back to his community.
With the increase of living costs, it’s no surprise that inflation is heavily impacting food relief services and the variety of produce they can provide. Although grants and government funds come in handy, Glenn mentions that the influence of locals is what allows FoodShare to increase their capacity.
“When we have to source food, it can become quite expensive as FoodShare and government resources don’t spread as far, whereas when there’s an influx of food from donors and local growers, we allow those collecting the food to take as much as they need. We know everyone is going through something different. We don’t need to question what’s happening in someone’s life. We just want to be able to provide a safe place for people to come and collect what they wish.
We were amazed to find out that majority of FoodShare volunteers had also been directly affected by the floods, yet were the first to put up their hand to help someone else in need.
Volunteers start around 7am and work until midday where they help service agencies who come to collect food, 4 days a week. FoodShare also collect from local supermarkets and bakeries.
Agencies arrive at FoodShare where they are greeted by a volunteer (just like a personal shopper) where they can shop the shelves for supplies. This includes fresh produce, canned and dry goods as well as frozen meals.
Next door to Mooroopna you’ll find the rural town of Murchison- home to approximately 800 people. We spoke with Louis from Murchison Neighbourhood House who has been utilising FoodShare’s services to support their flood affected community.
Louis mentions “We have different volunteers that come and collect supplies from FoodShare and distribute them to families associated with Murchison Neighbourhood House. We are already known for our emergency relief services but with everything happening with the floods, we’ve been able to step up our capacity. We’re also reaching people who have had to leave their homes, those who are stranded in local caravan parks and those who can’t get back to their homes. I do a food run every couple of days and this normally stretches to 6 food boxes every visit.”
It’s no surprise that has been an overwhelming amount of support come from locals. From volunteers at FoodShare to local farmers, the community has really bound together. It’s amazing what the power of community can achieve.
FoodShare volunteer Glenn says “feedback from the community has been tremendous. Mooroopna was hit harder than Shepparton. We experienced the 74, 92 and 2011 flood but this was by far the worst. We were very lucky to not be directly affected.”
The clean up continues in Shepparton and surrounding areas. SecondBite drivers are making weekly trips to drop off essential items to distribute at FoodShare and connecting agencies to local food distribution facilities.
Find out more about the incredible service FoodShare provide here