Geelong Food Relief calls for help as demand surges

February 26, 2024 BY

Routleys Bakery Kate Harriott alongside Geelong Food Relief CEO Andrew Schauble, demonstrating Routleys Bakery's significant support for the organisation. Photo: SUPPLIED

GEELONG Food Relief, the primary distributor in the G21 region, is grappling with a significant surge in demand

According to chief executive officer Andrew Schauble, the organisation has distributed 31 per cent more food in the first seven months of this financial year compared to last year.

“We’re looking at an average of distributing over 90 tonnes a month out through our community channels,” Schauble said.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact the community, Mr Schauble believed demand would only grow.

Geelong Food Relief’s impact also extends beyond food distribution, providing a gateway for its 55 partner agencies to other support services such as financial literacy, domestic violence support, and substance abuse counselling.

“Food and food relief plays a really important role in the broader system of supporting the community,” Schauble said, and stressed the interconnection between providing food aid and addressing other critical issues facing individuals in the community.

Facing the challenge of meeting the increased demand, Mr Schauble said there was a crucial need for funding and donations.

“The greatest challenge is securing stable, multi-year funding to ensure the organisation can continue its vital work.”

“Ultimately we rely on grants and community donations, we rely on government and council support alongside the generosity of the community. Without this steady Government funding we wouldn’t be able to provide free bulk food as we do to all the community agencies so they can run their programmes.”

He also highlighted the organisation’s reliance on its volunteers, with about 165 volunteers involved in collecting, sorting, and distributing food.

“Our volunteers are amazing and provide the equivalent of over $100,000 worth of support each month for the community. But naturally, it takes a lot of work to recruit, train, supervise and manage such a big workforce.”

“We’re always looking for volunteers.”

To donate, head to geelongfoodrelief.org/donate

For members of the community requiring food assistance, head to the ‘Where You Can Eat‘ guide, which has information about opening hours and contact details for food relief agencies across the G21 region—including a new feature of an online map showing where agencies are located.