The Mildura community has received welcome news today with a $647K boost which aims at strengthening its food relief hub and support the service to continue ensuring healthy food reaches those in need – thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.
Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp MP welcomed today’s announcement by Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Hon. Luke Donnellan that Mildura Foodshare will receive a total of $646,774 funding for operational and capital projects, including:
- Scale up supply, access, storage and distribution via improved infrastructure, increase capacity and streamlining of the food hub.
- Recruitment of additional staff, including a part time worker, a delivery driver; and a co-ordinator to build and mentor the volunteering network and develop philanthropic opportunities within the community.
- Upgrades to key infrastructure components, including air conditioning, insulation and refrigerated transport. This will enable increased food product life, reduce wastage and will support the voluntary workforce, with improved occupational health and safety working conditions.
- Expand IT connectivity into the warehouse and improvements to the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council Inc (SMECC) hosts and operates Mildura Foodshare which has been in operation for 40 years – running many services in partnership with Council and local community health organisations, including settlement programs for new migrants and youth support.
Each week, approximately 1,500 people benefit from the service including other emergency food agencies, schools, kindergartens and community groups.
The Andrews Government is investing $3.5 million to build regional food hubs to increase the capacity of food relief storage and distribution services in regional Victoria. The hubs will ensure food gets to where it’s needed by strengthening the link between suppliers and those experiencing food insecurity.
In partnership with Foodbank Victoria, the Victorian Government has selected five organisations to provide the new food hub services, including; Mildura Foodshare, Albury-Wodonga Regional Foodshare, Bendigo Foodshare, Geelong Relief Centre, and Warrnambool and District Foodshare.
The funding for these food relief hubs build on $10 million already invested by the Labor Government for new distribution centres in Ballarat and Morwell. Once complete in late 2022, the new centres will enable a coordinated food relief response across the state.
This funding follows the announcement in December that Mildura Foodshare and Red Cliffs Community Resource Centre were two of 93 recipient organisations which shared in $5 million through the Community Food Relief Fund grants – which provided a massive 2 million meals and 180,000 food hampers to vulnerable Victorians before Christmas.
The Community Food Relief and regional food hubs grants are part of the more the $25 million in additional funding the Government has provided since February 2020 to expand food relief operations across Victoria.
The Government provides Foodbank Victoria with over $3.6 million support each year – which is vital for services to deliver food relief to more than 140,000 Victorians every month through more than 470 charity partners.
Quotes attributable to Mark Gepp MP, Member for Northern Victoria
“Food insecurity is a big problem in Australia and is only compounded further by drought, bushfires and this pandemic. I am proud to be part of a government that is strengthening our local food relief organisations with the resources needed to better assist those facing hardship.”
“I want to thank the wonderful team at Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council who work tirelessly to provide this vital service. This investment will make a real difference for people in the region struggling to put food on the table.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan
“Every Victorian deserves access to fresh and healthy food – which is why we’re boosting resources for community-based food relief services and ensuring all families can stay happy and healthy.”
“2020 was a year like no other and many Victorians are still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic – our new regional hubs will help ensure better food relief coordination across the state so everyone has what they need.”
Quote attributable to Alisi Fangaloki, Executive Officer Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council / Mildura Foodshare
“We are pleased to be able to offer this service to our community and look forward to realising its positive impact on vulnerable people who have endured quite a tough year. This funding from the Victorian Government will support us to relieve a little of the burden on these families and individuals moving forward”.