The new life-saving Automated External Defibrillator donated to FoodShare today by The Personnel Group will provide extra peace of mind for volunteers at our new operations in Wigg Street.
The defibrillator was presented to FoodShare’s Genearl Manager Peter Matthews by The Personnel Group’s Murray Area Manager Anthea Hatherall and Wodonga Client Attraction Officer Tracey Whatley.
“We are very grateful to The Personnel Group for their donation as having access to a defibrillator improves the safety of our valuable volunteers and community members that support and access our services” Mr Matthews said.
The defibrillator will be located at FoodShare’s new premises at 81 Wigg Street, Wodonga, which houses the Community Pantry program to provide food hampers, packed by volunteers for local residents experiencing financial hardship.
“Minutes matter in a cardiac arrest and this defibrillator could better someone’s chances of survival,” Mr Matthews said.
“I hope the defibrillator will never have to be used but having it available means so much to everyone in the FoodShare team as we will be better equipped in the case of an emergency.”
The donation was made possible after fundraising by The Personnel Group staff.
“The Personnel Group has an active Health and Wellbeing program that focuses on mental and physical health and also community participation,” The Personnel Group CEO Tracey Fraser said.
“We also wanted to incorporate a community aspect, as during lockdowns we were not able to participate in our annual community volunteering day.
“So we ran a defibrillator competition, a fundraising challenge where sites raised money in a variety of ways to be able to purchase defibrillator machines for the community.
“Across our organisation staff raised close to $6,000 and this enabled us to donate three defibrillator machines within the community, which were chosen by our sites that raised the most money; Wodonga, Bendigo and Canberra.”
Defibrillators are used to restore a normal heartbeat by sending an electric pulse or shock to the heart when someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest.
Ambulance Victoria maintains a registry of more than 6500 public defibrillators (AEDs) and will add the new FoodShare defibrillator to that list.
Ambulance Victoria will also provide a defibrillator demonstration and Call Push Shock presentation for FoodShare staff and volunteers.
“For a decade FoodShare has been providing nutritious food and meals across the region to people who would otherwise go hungry,” The Personnel Group Murray Area Manager Anthea Hatherall said.
“FoodShare’s vision and values definitely align with The Personnel Group’s and we are proud to be able to acknowledge that in a meaningful, practical way.”
FoodShare has received funding from numerous community grant programs over the past 18 months to purchase quality nutritious food and to enhance the services available for those experiencing hardship in surrounding rural and regional communities impacted by the 2019/20 summer bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the supporters include Border Trust, Albury City, City of Wodonga, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, Rivalea, Charlies Sturt University, SS&A Albury, Commercial Club Albury, Collier Charitable Foundation, RACV, Into Our Hands Community Foundation, Australian Communities Foundation, Second Bite, Regional Development Victoria (RDV), Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH).
FoodShare immediately responded to the bushfire emergency on New Years Day in 2020 by operating the warehouse seven days a week for all of January. As part of the emergency relief effort, FoodShare distributed food, pet food and basic grocery items to bushfire effected communities.
The huge community effort driven by FoodShare was supported by a virtual army of community volunteers, which resulted in around 100,000kg of food and essential household items being donated within the first few weeks of the year to residents located in the Towong Shire (Victoria), and the Snowy Valleys Shire (NSW) with trailer loads of food also sent to NSW towns including Wagga Wagga, Holbrook, Batlow and Jingellic. In Victoria critically needed supplies were provided to Towong, Alpine and Wangaratta local government areas.
Over the past 18 months, FoodShare’s services have evolved leading to the implementation of FoodShare’s Community Pantry program, which has enabled food hampers to be delivered directly to members of the community, particularly families who were requiring emergency food relief for the first time as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The food hampers have been well received by the community with many individuals and agencies finding the new service very beneficial.
With the long-term impacts of restrictions imposed from the coronavirus and cross-border lockdowns placing a significant strain on families in the Albury-Wodonga region, FoodShare’s team of volunteers distributed over 300 pre-packed food hampers to local residents in a contactless COVIDSafe manner from two pop up drive-thrus. In addition to this initiative, FoodShare distributed almost 400 food hampers with culturally appropriate ingredients directly to local homes as part of Albury Wodonga’s coordinated COVID emergency relief effort during the region’s latest outbreak.
In addition to the food hamper service, the Community Pantry project has expanded further with the opening of the FoodShare Shop this month. This service is accessible by local residents experiencing financial hardship to select their own grocery items from a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, pantry staple items, pre-prepared meals as well as personal hygiene, household items and pet food. To access this new service shoppers need to have a FoodShare voucher from their support agency or community centre, as it’s important that those who visit the FoodShare Shop have access to all the support they need.
These changes to FoodShare’s operations were initiated by the response to the 2019/20 summer bushfires, however the enhanced services now provided by FoodShare have revolutionised the way that emergency food relief is delivered to North-East Victorian and Southern NSW communities.
The FoodShare Shop opened today and has welcomed its first five shoppers.
Linda was first in the door and was so grateful for the wide range of choice and fresh produce. “It’s so hard to ask for help and you have made it so easy’” she said.
Sonya and Kyra heard about the FoodShare Shop from their community centre and said it was so good to be able to select their own grocery items. Sonya is the grandmother of Kyra’s two young children and said “I can eat anything but it’s hard for the kids so being able to pick what we want is just wonderful”.
Nicole is FoodShare’s Community Pantry Coordinator and has been developing the hamper program over the past 12 months. “Just because someone is having a hard time doesn’t mean they don’t get access to choice” she said in response to Steve’s positive feedback about the new service.
The FoodShare Shop offers a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, pantry staple items, pre-prepared meals, fresh and frozen meat, a selection of dairy items, personal hygiene and household cleaning products as well as pet food is available as part of the selection.
This new service is accessible to local residents experiencing financial hardship who have a FoodShare voucher from their support agency or community centre, as it’s important that those who visit the FoodShare Shop have access to all the support they need.
The FoodShare Shop is open between 9.30am and 2.00pm on weekdays and is located at 81 Wigg Street in Wodonga.