Free food relief to help feed those doing it tough this festive season

People finding it hard to put food on the table this holiday period are able to access free food relief thanks to Bendigo Foodshare’s Pop-Up Christmas Food Pantry.

The Pop-Up Christmas Food Pantry is operating for six sessions over the Christmas and New Year period in three locations across Bendigo to make sure families and people struggling with financial pressures will not be hungry this Christmas.

Bendigo Foodshare’s Community Relations Manager Emma Bourke said Christmas was traditionally a difficult time for low income families to access support as many charities and food relief services take a well-earned break and schools across the region close for upwards of six weeks.

“Throughout the year we supply food to around 40 schools, kinders and childcare centres, of which most close for the summer break, which impacts thousands of families’ access to food relief over this period. As well, many of our local food relief partners and their mostly volunteer teams take a well deserved break too,” she said.

“There will be many people’s fridges and bank balances that will be empty after a hectic Christmas and we hope this service helps take some of the pressure off during the holidays.

“This is the fifth year we’ve been running the service, which has been made possible with the support of local service clubs and community organisations who host the pantry and distribute the food.

“Before each session volunteers will travel to various supermarkets across town in our Bendigo Foodshare vans and recover food from going to waste. The fresh produce, along with other pantry staples we’ve collected from donations will be offered to families in need.”

Ms Bourke added the Christmas Food Pantry is free, and everyone in our community is welcome to come along – no questions asked, just come and get what you need – fruit, veg, bread and pantry staples. People are encouraged to bring their own shopping bags or boxes to the designated location from 1pm.

The Pop-Up Christmas Food Pantry runs with the support of Bendigo, Sandhurst, Kangaroo Flat, Eaglehawk and Bendigo South Rotary Clubs.

For more information please contact Kaye Lehmann at Bendigo Foodshare on 0418 355 253 or