Feeding hungry Victorians is a huge undertaking – and one that is largely reliant on volunteers.
Ahead of National Volunteer Week (21-27 May), Foodbank Victoria – the oldest and largest provider of emergency food relief – has released an online map to help link its charity partners with potential volunteers.
Foodbank Victoria CEO Dave McNamara said tens of thousands of Victorians would go hungry without the generosity of individuals motivated to make a positive contribution to their community.
“At Foodbank we’re fortunate to have up to 30 volunteers a day helping in our warehouse. Without them we simply wouldn’t be able to distribute the volume of food we do – the equivalent of one million meals each month,” he said.
“We’re lucky to have such a solid base of volunteers. However we know many of our charity partners all around Victoria are desperate for more hands to help carry out their vital work.”
A recent survey of Foodbank’s 400+ charity partners in Victoria revealed 40 per cent relied on volunteers to deliver their food relief programs (such as community pantries and soup kitchens) and 30 per cent were in need of more volunteers.
The map at www.foodbankvictoria.org.au/volunteer lists 134 Foodbank charity partners currently seeking volunteers. From Warrnambool to Wodonga to Orbost and everywhere in between, Mr McNamara encouraged people to consider volunteering at a local charity.
“There are a lot of amazing individuals out there who are the backbone of many charities, and the social services sector generally. But with one in five children in Australia going hungry each year, the pressure on charities to do more is increasing.”
The map also lists 115 state primary schools who need additional help to run their School Breakfast Clubs. Foodbank Victoria, in partnership with the Victorian Government, provides up to 50,000 breakfasts a week through the program. Volunteers are required for an hour before school to help set-up breakfast and socialise with the students.
Last year, over 2000 volunteers donated almost 25,000 hours of their time at Foodbank’s Yarraville warehouse.
Kimberley Nichols, Foodbank Victoria, phone: 03 9362 8309 / 0438 272 665
Alexa Viani, Foodbank Victoria, phone: 03 9362 8333 / 0422 614 364