Bendigo Foodshare has kicked-off a month-long effort to fight hunger in Central Victoria with a community food drive for non-perishable food items during November.

Recent statistics show that more than 25,000 people in the Bendigo region are living close to or below the poverty line, putting them at serious risk of food insecurity and hunger.

Bendigo Foodshare Chair, Cathie Steele, said the organisation helped feed 12,400 people each week with donated, surplus and rescued food.

“We’re seeing food distress affecting an increasing number of people who aren’t unable to afford healthy food despite working or as a result of temporary financial stress or unforeseen emergency,” said Ms Steele.

“December and January can be particularly hard with the stress of Christmas and school holidays, as well as increased utility costs and unexpected bills.

“We recently increased our food collection service to seven-days per week, which has dramatically increased our supplies of fresh produce and bread. We still need to stock up on canned and long-life foods before the Christmas and school holiday period.”

Staple food items can be hard to come by due to their long-lasting nature and universal popularity, which means our supermarket supporters don’t have a great deal of surplus stock to donate.

For that reason, Bendigo Foodshare’s is encouraging the community to support their own by donating long-life and canned foods during November

All food collected will be given out to people in need via local schools and charities.

Our most needed essential food items include:

  • Pasta, rice and grains
  • Cooking oil
  • Ready-made meal bases
  • Canned vegetables
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Tinned fruit
  • Jam, peanut butter and Vegemite
  • Flour and sugar
  • UHT milk
  • Coffee, tea and Milo
  • Sauces and seasonings
  • Tinned meat and fish

People wishing to take part can drop off their donated food at one of 15 collection stations across the city, including local Bendigo Bank branches, Goodstart Early Learning Centres and Bendigo Telco from November 1 – 30.

Donations can also be given directly to Bendigo Foodshare at its warehouse located at 2/43 Havilah Road, Long Gully between 8am and 1pm Monday to Thursday or other times by appointment.