Shepparton Foodshare receives a grant to purchase food supplies

SHEPPARTON Foodshare has received funds to engage local hospitality businesses to cook 2100 meals and purchase much needed food staples, that have been difficult to source, from local suppliers. 

The project, supported by the Victorian Government, is a partnership with Greater Shepparton Foundation that sees successful meals program Food Link reactivated to increase Foodshare’s capacity to provide food relief to the most vulnerable in our community over winter. 

Shepparton Foodshare Operations Coordinator, Grace Grieve said, “Whilst it is not our usual model to purchase food as we are unable to sustain this, the support is a welcome boost that will assist us through a really tough period where food has been difficult to source and demand for food relief has increased. The meals are appropriate to our diverse community’s needs whilst assisting to reduce food waste, with meals developed to use excess food that businesses have due to enforced restrictions.” This program also provides business the opportunity to keep staff engaged through meaningful paid employment. 

Shepparton Foodshare operates on food donations and community support, with no possibility to charge for food, as the people receiving the food simply cannot pay for it. However, a regular supply of food staples is inconsistent and can be difficult to source, and has been made even more difficult due to food shortages as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Donations of suitably packaged cooked meals and necessary food staples such as rice and pasta, meal bases, poultry and proteins, are in high demand from those seeking food relief, but are received irregularly. This grant will assist with a more consistent supply over the winter months.” Grace said. Shepparton Foodshare will distribute the cooked meals and food staples in food boxes via the 100 agencies registered to collect their food to provide for free to people they support.  

Food staples will be purchased from local suppliers who have generously supported Foodshare over the years and who are now doing it tough themselves due to the impacts of the coronavirus. Purchasing the food staples from them directly will assist them to keep their doors open and their staff engaged. 

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, The Hon. Luke Donnellan MP said, “By supporting partnerships like these between food relief organisations and local restaurants, cafes and hospitality businesses, we’re helping our most vulnerable Victorians, local businesses and workers, so that no one is left behind as we fight this pandemic.” 

Shepparton Foodshare supplies 100 emergency relief agencies, churches, community meals programs and schools with free food to distribute to the people they support. The busy warehouse generally receives and distributes more than 300,000 kilograms of food annually, or the equivalent of 600,000 meals, and prevents edible food entering landfill. Last year however demand for food increased, seeing 380,000 kilograms of food distributed by the service.  

Since 2012 Shepparton Foodshare has distributed 3 million kilograms of food to the most vulnerable in our community, thanks to support from some wonderful organisations and extreme generosity from the local community. 

For more information, please email [email protected] or call Operations Coordinator Grace Grieve on 0432 517 329.

FUNDS TO PROVIDE 2100 MEALS… Foodlink reactivated to provide meals to the most vulnerable. From left, Foodshare operations coordinator, Grace Grieve, founder of Foodling, Amy De Paola and Foodshare volunteer, Shane Garner. Photo: Supplied