Bendigo Foodshare’s Bendigo Bank Million Meals in May appeal has reached its end, but that hasn’t stopped local donors, with contributions to the appeal still rolling in ahead of the end of the financial year.

Counting is still in progress, but to date, almost $56,500 has been raised by the Bendigo and Castlemaine communities toward the ambitious $65,000 fundraising target which, if achieved, will cover the not-for-profit’s operating costs for the next 12-months.

Bendigo Foodshare’s Chair, Cathie Steele, said a generous $5,000 donation from the Bendigo City Masonic Lodge and the Freemasons Foundation of Victoria helped the appeal reach the exciting milestone, leaving less than $9,000 left to raise.

“Current economic conditions and a rise in underemployment are making it harder than ever for working families to make ends meet,” said Ms Steele.

“As the weather gets colder, not everyone in our region is fortunate enough to escape the skyrocketing utility bills, effects of underemployment and high costs of living.

“Almost 25,000 local residents are living close to the poverty line; in winter many forced to stretch their budgets to the very max. As a result, we’ve seen a rise in demand for food relief, and we’re now feeding more than 9,000 local people each week. But we can’t do it alone!”

Local businesses and community organisations are Bendigo Foodshare’s most significant financial supporters. With less than a month before June 30, Bendigo Foodshare wants to remind organisations that there’s still time to make a donation before the 2018/2019 financial year draws to a close.

  • $5 provides 80 meals
  • $25 provides 400 meals
  • $50 provides 800 meals
  • $100 provides 1,600 meals.

Bendigo City Masonic Lodge’s Secretary, John Crimmins, said they loved being able to give back to the community.

“Bendigo Foodshare does a fantastic job collecting and redistributing surplus food that would otherwise go to waste and using it to provide meals to thousands of local people, including young families, students and farmers each week.

“Here at Bendigo Masonic Lodge, we’re proud to be in a position to support Bendigo Foodshare and ensure that local people in need don’t have to choose between paying winter bills and eating a warm filling meal each night.”

Other Bendigo Bank Million Meals in May sponsors and donors include: Bendigo Bank, Bart n Print, Be.Bendigo, Bendigo Advertiser, The Bendigo Cleaning Company, Bendigo Stadium, Bendigo Toyota, City of Greater Bendigo, G.J. Gardner Homes, Gold FM Central Victoria, Mount Alexander Funerals, Viatek, The Y Service Club of Bendigo and the WIN TV Network.

Donations to the Bendigo Bank Million Meals in May can still be made in-person at Bendigo Bank branches, online via the Bendigo Foodshare website. Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.

Money raised will go towards the cost of collecting and redistributing food that would otherwise go to waste.