Iluka Partners with Foodbank WA to Feed Geraldton and the Mid-West
Iluka Resources has partnered with Foodbank WA’s Geraldton Branch for the next 2 years with the aim of increasing the local community’s access to food assistance.
The partnership aims to provide vital support for vulnerable communities in the Mid-West region, and in areas where Iluka operates which will extend to Cataby and Eneabba.
Together, Iluka and Foodbank WA target to increase the volume of food distribution and mobile services out of the Foodbank Geraldton Branch.
Tom O’Leary, Managing Director and CEO of Iluka Resources said, “Iluka is pleased to have partnered with Foodbank WA since 2020 and will continue supporting Midwest communities in 2022 and 2023. Food insecurity remains a very real issue for many, which is why we have contributed $200,000 to help Foodbank increase the volume of food distribution in Geraldton and the Mid-West.”
CEO of Foodbank WA Kate O’Hara said the need for food relief in the region was significant.
“We know we’re falling short in addressing food insecurity in the Mid-West but we have yet to build a picture of what the accountable need is and which areas should be targeted first,” said Kate.
“With Iluka as our Partner, we can get our number one project off the ground – liaising with charity partners, schools and local police to identify more accurately the needs of the community. This will incorporate a needs analysis to look into supplying food assistance wherever the Food Stress Index is highest.”
The Food Stress Index is an assessment of food stress by region. Food Stress occurs when a household needs to spend more than 25% of their disposable income on food. The majority of the Mid-West region falls into the highest of 5 categories, “High Likelihood of Food Stress”.
The Partnership also aims to increase the amount of food collected by the branch. “We’d like to see the Geraldton Branch increase its fresh produce collection service, to the level we operate in our Bunbury Branch, where a proportion of the food supply is from local producers,” said Kate.
“There are plenty of opportunities to source fresh local Mid-West fresh produce including tomatoes, melons and cucumbers. We know some produce in the region is going to waste. We are keen to explore opportunities to increase food rescue not just for locals, but back through to our customers throughout the rest of the state via our other five branches.”
Foodbank WA’s objective is to increase food assistance services within the region, both directly and together with partner charity agencies. Iluka’s funding will help further establish key networks with agencies including Mission Australia, MEEDAC and Regional Alliance West whilst also increasing awareness to other community services in the region.
“The team at Foodbank WA has done a fantastic job to get this program up and running,” said Tom O’Leary. “Their hard work has materially increased food assistance and services to the region for the benefit of those in need.”
Kate O’Hara said “Foodbank Geraldton is ready to grow. Last financial year, our Geraldton branch provided nearly 700,000 meals to people who didn’t have enough money to buy basic groceries. We have recently increased our mobile services program. However, the feedback we have from those we already service, is there is more need in the area.”
“People tell us they’re skipping meals so they can feed their kids. Often, they’re what we call the working poor – people whose pay cheques haven’t kept up with the cost of living. In a state as wealthy as ours, in region that produces an abundance of fruit and veg, there’s no reason for anyone to go hungry.”
Food Assistance is available to anyone struggling to access or afford food. Phone the Emergency Relief & Food Assistance Hotline 1800 979 777, Monday to Friday 9.00am -5.00pm.
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