FOODBANK NSW & ACT HITS BITTERSWEET MILESTONE OF 150 MILLION MEALS
Foodbank is the bank that keeps on giving. This month Foodbank NSW & ACT will mark a milestone of 150 million meals to needy communities. This milestone will be reached by giving out hampers to regional farming communities in crisis across the state.
“This is a milestone we never wanted to hit. For the past 27 years we’ve been sourcing and delivering food for hungry Australians. The farmers need us now more than ever. No one anticipated the drought would last this long.” – Gerry Andersen, CEO Foodbank NSW & ACT.
Mr Andersen personally helped to deliver 10,000 hampers to drought stricken farmers in regional NSW a year ago. Now we are ready to distribute another 5,000, but we would like to do much more.
From mid-late September, the hampers will be distributed through the Country Women’s Association (CWA) and our existing charity partners in drought-affected regions, to then be distributed to farming communities in need. Each hamper contains breakfast cereal, pasta, pasta sauces, soups, vegemite, canned fruit and vegetables.
“Since October 2016, below average rainfall has parched the majority of NSW, with farmers feeling the sting the most, we want them all to know that we are here for the long haul.”
“We are calling on the public to lend a hand, farmers are beyond breaking point. A $30 donation will deliver a hamper to help support a farming family in crisis.”
It’s been more than 12 months since we started providing food relief in Baradine and now one NSW farming family speaks out, about the realities of the drought and how Foodbank has helped to keep food on the table, week in and week out.
Adrian and Beth Worrell have received support from Foodbank (through the CWA Drought Pantry) since Nea (Worrell) began the pantry – originally as a ‘one off’– unfortunately, says Nea, “the pantry has been running ever since, supporting 137 families (approx. 400 people) over a 200km radius”.
“I’m a fifth generation farming family and this is the worst drought in living memory.”
“Because it’s been so long, people now do not have any money, no money whatsoever. I’m worried about the mental health of the men. We need your help, without your help, without Foodbank’s food, without Foodbank’s hampers, without people backing us, we can’t give out and people are going to die.”
Adrian and Beth have 3 children, Jack (14 – who has Williams Syndrome), Abby (12) and a newborn son. Beth, who had brought the only stable income into the family home, has had to leave her role as a teacher’s aide at the local school. Her permanent part-time role does not cover maternity leave. So, their only regular income has also dried up.
‘‘When I got the (very first) foodbank hamper, I cried,” says Beth. “Our property is our life, it’s not something that we can just go, we’re done this is too hard, there’s no rain, there’s no feed, we’ll just pack up and go, that’s just not an option. We just need to get through it.”
“I want my kids to be here for the rest of their lives to continue farming. I don’t want to be the family that had to walk away because we had nothing left.”
“Foodbank has supported us over the last year with food packages but they can’t do that without people’s donations.”
As the drought now exceeds the Federation drought, the World War II drought and the Millennium drought in terms of severity, Adrian says their drought proofing of water supply and 1,100 bales of hay are long gone.
“We used up all our hay nine months ago. Everybody’s doing it pretty tough, two or three years without income, all expense. Every load (of feed) coming in the gate is about 10 grand; it adds up, it’s getting a bit painful now,” says Adrian.
Foodbank NSW & ACT CEO, Gerry Andersen said, “In good seasons, farmers are amongst the most generous donors of food to people in need across NSW. Right now 29% of Australians experiencing food insecurity live in rural and regional communities. More than 33% of all food and grocery items distributed by Foodbank go to these regions annually.”
“As the worst drought on record continues, we must give back to help farming communities survive.”
“In spite of our best efforts, we estimate that we need 50% more food to provide enough for all the people seeking assistance. To try and bridge this gap, we rely on the generosity of individuals, businesses, community organisations, schools and all levels of government.”
Foodbank is Australia’s largest food relief organisation, providing approximately 70% of food assistance to individuals and families across NSW and the ACT.
We are calling on the public to lend a hand, farmers are beyond breaking point. A $30 donation will deliver a hamper to help support a farming family in crisis.