Albury Wodonga Regional FoodShare urgently needs a new home. Wodonga TAFE has provided warehouse space for FoodShare for the past six years but the warehouse is now needed for an increase in demand for trade courses.
The emergency food relief charity is asking for support from the community, industrial property owners, freight and transport organisations for help in identifying a new site.
Wodonga TAFE Acting CEO Phil Paterson said: “FoodShare provides an invaluable service to the community which we would like to continue to support. However, the warehouse is a critical piece of infrastructure we need access to in order to meet future training needs.”
FoodShare Board member Jodie Kensington said the changing circumstances put FoodShare in a challenging position: needing to find a new home, plus its ongoing need for funding.
“We understand that Wodonga TAFE has a responsibility to meet the local training needs of our community and we appreciate the fantastic support TAFE has given us over the years,” Ms Kensington said.
“We ask for public support in finding a new warehouse in Wodonga quickly so that FoodShare will be able to continue to manage the 700,000kg of donated food it receives each year, turning it into 25,000 meals per week to vulnerable people on both sides of the border,” he said.
Since being officially notified of the TAFE decision in January, a working party has been unsuccessful in finding new warehouse facilities, leaving only three months before the current TAFE lease ends and TAFE begins refurbishing the space to be ready for course delivery in 2020.
Finding a new home for FoodShare is critically important says Wodonga Council’s Deputy Mayor Cr Kat Bennett. “FoodShare is the only centralised hub coordinating emergency food relief for nine local government areas. Last year Albury Wodonga provided food to 106 welfare/community agencies, 80 schools and 10 neighbourhood houses: that’s enough food to make the equivalent of 1.4 million meals.”
Gateway Health says FoodShare has an impact beyond food rescue. “In a rich nation like Australia, there are families who still suffer stress and anxiety in order to put food on the table. The inability to access fresh food affects people’s health and contributes to a number of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Many people report that the stress of not knowing where the next meal will come from, can be even worse than feeling hungry,” stated Ms Leigh Rhode, CEO of Gateway Health.
“Emergency food relief agencies like FoodShare, not only provide fresh food to families in need but also tackle the food waste issue by effectively rescuing food that would otherwise go to landfill. Locally recovered food represents 78% of the total food rescued by FoodShare, and approximately 37% of locally sourced food in 2016 was fresh, demonstrating the benefit of having a regional option rather than relying on metropolitan agencies,” said Ms. Rhode.
FoodShare is looking for a 800m2 floorspace, with easy access for trucks, security gate, parking, and located within Wodonga so 100+ volunteers can readily reach the site. The charity has a freezer, cool room, and racking for up to four stacks.