1 January 2020

A truck full of food and drinking water will head to East Gippsland from Melbourne today, with Foodbank Victoria sending the supplies in to help firefighters and local communities caught up in the bushfire emergency.

The food supplies are part of Foodbank Victoria’s disaster relief support to Emergency Management Victoria and will go to the recovery centre at Bairnsdale Race Course for distribution.

Foodbank Victoria CEO Dave McNamara says “Our hearts go out to the incredible firefighters, first responders and the displaced communities in East Gippsland. We can only imagine what they’re going through and hope the food and water supplies provide some comfort and support during an horrific start to the new year.

“This first delivery of 650 food hampers and 10 pallets of water should give community members sufficient food for four days and will ship about 1,500 hampers in the coming days.

“We already know we will need to send in about 5,000 food hampers overall to the region, so I’m calling on Melbournians to urgently help us with food or financial donations.

“We really need ‘grab and go’ items like muesli bars and fruit cups, but tinned food, UHT milk, noodles and other ambient – or non-frozen or refrigerated food – is desperately needed.

“If you can’t donate food, we’ll gratefully accept funds – every dollar donated helps us provide about $7 worth of food assistance.”

The first delivery will include essential things like mixed groceries and, specific to first responders fighting the fires, ‘grab and go’ items and water – providing more than 7,000 meals.

“Our ongoing response will be distributed by established relief and recovery centres throughout East Gippsland, including those isolated communities currently only accessible by air or sea.”

This delivery comes as Foodbank Victoria, the state’s oldest and largest food relief organisation, sees 2020 mark 90 years of helping Victorians in times of need.

“Sadly, we’re no stranger to this role. Whether it’s disasters like the current bushfires or the everyday emergencies Victorians find themselves in, we’ve been there to provide food and support for 90 years now.

“From experience, we know the long-term effect of these events impacts more than just the affected communities. Foodbank Victoria will be there to provide ongoing support to the wider Gippsland communities directly, and through our programs like the Farms to Families markets, our charity partners, and our School Breakfast Program.”