Bendigo Foodshare celebrates its 10th birthday

Bendigo Foodshare is celebrating its 10th birthday this month, with the charity announcing it has been responsible for distributing around 8 million kilograms of food during the past decade.  

Bendigo Foodshare was officially established as an independent charity on 11 April 2013, after a transition from UnitingCare and Foodbank Victoria. 

Bendigo Foodshare CEO Michelle Murphy said the organisation had seen tremendous demand and growth throughout the past 10 years and was proud of the impact it was making in the community. 

“In our first year, we supplied rescued food to 15 emergency relief agencies and 5 schools. Today Bendigo Foodshare provides food to more than 80 food partners across the region, helping to feed thousands of people each week,” Ms Murphy said. 

The charity has seen demand continue to grow as awareness of the service has grown, and in more recent years due the impacts of Covid-19, floods and economic pressures. 

“During the pandemic, our supermarket rescues increased to 7 days a week, from 40 to 96 collections and demand from food relief agencies increased by 40 per cent,” Ms Murphy added.

Volunteering has always been at the heart of Bendigo Foodshare, with an estimated 500 volunteers directly giving their time over the past 10 years. 

“It’s critically important to us that we recognise that Bendigo Foodshare has been founded on the generosity of the countless volunteers at the organisation’s heart,” she added. 

Bendigo Foodshare Board member (and Chair from 2014-2022) Cathie Steele, added that donations and support from generous businesses, foundations, the City of Greater Bendigo, Governments and individuals has also been critical to the success of Bendigo Foodshare. 

“Throughout the years, our ability to survive – and thrive – has only been made possible thanks to the generous support of the community. 

Bendigo Foodshare Board Chair Sue Clarke, AM said, “looking ahead to the next 10 years, the organisation will put a greater strategic focus and an even stronger commitment to innovative approaches to supporting Bendigo and surrounding communities.”