People experiencing food insecurity in Ballarat will soon have improved access to fresh food.
Not-for-profit organisation Foodbank, in partnership with the Ballarat Foundation, is set to establish a food distribution centre in Ballarat.
The food bank will act as a pantry to charities and community groups in Ballarat who feed those going hungry, Ballarat Foundation chief executive Matt Jenkins and Foodbank Victoria chief executive Dave McNamara explained at the announcement this morning.
Mr McNamara said it will be the first Foodbank hub in regional Victoria.
“For us this is an exciting step in our 90 year history, coming back to regional Victoria in a meaningful way in terms of bricks and mortar,” he said.
“That allows us to take the first step of decentralising Foodbank into our communities to capture the quantum of food that is being lost locally because there isn’t the infrastructure there to rescue it and distribute it.”
The announcement comes after the release of a shocking Ballarat Community Health and Monash University report, which revealed more than 12 per cent of Ballarat’s population experience food insecurity.
Of the 100 people accessing emergency food relief surveyed for the Impacts of Food Insecurity in Ballarat report, 78 per cent said they experienced moderate to severe hunger.
Access to fresh food was revealed as a priority for those experiencing food insecurity. The report recommended emergency food relief services in Ballarat provide more fresh fruits and vegetables and cooked healthy meals.
Surveyed clients consume only one serve of vegetables, fruit, dairy and meat on average over a 24 hour period.
More than 70 per cent believed they should be eating more fresh foods but said they were too expensive to buy.
Ballarat Foundation chief executive Matt Jenkins said the establishment of the food bank would improve access and distribution of fresh food in Ballarat to charities working in food relief.
“Of the 1.7 million tonnes of food that Foodbank distributed to regional Victoria last year, only 100,000 of that came through the Ballarat Grampians region. In contrast, over 500,000 of that went through Bendigo and the Loddon region,” he said.
We are the only regional city of our size to not have a food hub.Matt Jenkins, Ballarat Foundation chief executive
Foodbank acts as a link between the food industry’s surplus food and the welfare sector’s needs Australia wide.
Donations include stock that’s out of specification, close to expiry or excess to requirements and company donations.
Foodbank distribution centres are in operation in all state capitals. Yarraville is home to Victoria’s main warehouse, with community foodshare partners in Bendigo, Dandenong, Shepparton, Warrnambool and Wodonga.
The organisation distributes over 35 million kilograms of food and groceries each year – the equivalent of over 172,000 meals a day.
Foodbank accounts for 70 per cent of all the food distributed to charities by food rescue organisations in Australia.
Ballarat Foundation commits to building Foodbank Hub
Philanthropic organisation Ballarat Foundation today announced a commitment to build the infrastructure for a Foodbank hub in Ballarat.
Chief executive Matt Jenkins told crowds at the Ballarat Foundation Chairman’s Lunch the food distribution warehouse was hoped to be in operation by 2019.
Foodbank will run the hub, which will supply fresh food to Ballarat food relief programs, for the next 10 years.
Ballarat Foundation also launched the Feed Ballarat Appeal, in a push to raise the $3.5 million needed to build and begin operations at the food hub.
“The issue of food insecurity is multi dimensional and we will need continual funds and focus beyond the completion of a food hub,” Mr Jenkins said.
Ballarat Foundation identified food insecurity as one of four key focus pillars in 2017, as a member of the Food Access Network.
Mr Jenkins said the announcement of Ballarat Foundation’s partnership with Foodbank was an example of how the organisation will tackle other identified pillars, including education, unemployment, and homelessness.
It’s about partnerships and collective impact.Matt Jenkins, Ballarat Foundation chief executive
“In partnering with Foodbank we bring to the city a wonderful level of expertise in food logistics, an understanding of the sector, agency partnerships, and certainly partnerships in food supply chains that simply wouldn’t have been attained if we chose to go it alone.
“We connect people that can help, with people that need help.”
Foodbank will work to gain state government funding for the project, which both organisations hope will secure land in the Ballarat West Employment Zone.