Independent candidate for Benambra, Jacqui Hawkins, has called on the State Government and Opposition to urgently commit funding for the continued operation of Albury-Wodonga Regional FoodShare.
Ms Hawkins said FoodShare had revealed it needs funding to continue its work of providing meals to more than 25,000 meals every week in 10 local Government areas around Albury-Wodonga. In a letter addressed to Ms Hawkins, Foodshare chair Greg Hardham said his organisation needed $150,000 a year to meet its basic operating costs.
At present it does not receive any government money to assist with its activities.
Ms Hawkins said FoodShare provided an essential service to the most disadvantaged people in the community.
“Mr Hardham says FoodShare works for the invisible members of the community: the parents who cannot afford to eat before going to work, the children who do not have breakfast before they go to school and the elderly who are admitted to hospital emergency suffering malnutrition,” she said.
“FoodShare runs on a shoestring budget. It does not receive any ongoing government funding and relies on community donations to cover all its expenses.”
“98 per cent of its daily work is carried out by volunteers.”
Kevin Mack Chair of Riverina and Murray Joint Organisation is a strong supporter of the FoodShare organisation.
"The Albury Wodonga FoodShare provides food to four Council areas in Southern NSW including Albury, Wagga, Edwards River and Greater Hume Council,” he said.
“It is a vital service for people in need and both State Governments need to provide financial support to enable this vital service to continue."
Ms Hawkins said the Opposition Leader Matthew Guy had committed funding to both the Warrnambool and Shepparton FoodShare organisations, both of which do not cover anywhere near the demand of Albury-Wodonga.
“I believe the Border’s FoodShare service is such an important operation that it should be backed by both major parties,” she said.
“With both promising millions of dollars as part of their campaigns a pledge to support Albury-Wodonga Regional FoodShare would be a small price to pay for continuing a valuable service to this region.”