Foodbank helps ease community's needs

Adam Loftus, Cassie Bush, Lyn Rasmussen and David Harrison with some of the free hampers.
Adam Loftus, Cassie Bush, Lyn Rasmussen and David Harrison with some of the free hampers.

The Canowindra community has been given a slight reprieve thanks to Foodbank NSW&ACT through the Canowindra Food Basket.

A team of Foodbank volunteers rolled out to communities in the Central West to provide free hampers and fresh produce to those in need.

Foodbank School Breakfast 4 Health & Agencies Coordinator, Adam Loftus, said the organisation had found despite better conditions communties were still struggling.

"One of the things we found from a lot of out charity partners is that the drought, even though its rained, is still having an impact and COVID-19 has just pilled on top of that," he said.

"The food welfare safety net was pushed close to collapse when supermarkets were hit with panic buying in March, stretching rural and regional areas.

"We're seeing a lot of people out here asking for help that haven't previously, so it's good to get out and help people."

Mr Loftus said Foodbank and the Food Basket had a long history together.

"We've been working with Lyn (Rasmussen) and the team here for years, we supply a lot of their produce and pantry items," he said.

"If Lyn and the team can't get it donated we go out and purchase it and that's a mix of what we have here today.

"Anything to help people in need and keep people healthy.

"We want to thank Lyn and the team, they are the front line, if it wasn't for them opening the Food Basket here it wouldn't happen."

Food Basket Coordinator, David Harrison, said the Foodbank donations were a "wonderful extension of what we are already doing".

"This started off making up for low income families and people on pensions and what this does today helps extend it a bit further," he said.

"We normally meet on a Friday and this is a wonderful shot in the arm.

"It's also a bonus for the region because Foodbank are prepared to jump in a truck and bring their stuff out, in addition to what we already get."

Mr Harrison said Food Basket had seen additional people coming to them during the COVID-19 period.

"I register people for the process and the number of people who have said 'I've been plucking up the courage to come in and register' is amazing," he said.

"We are all very proud and for some this lets them be a little bit closer to normality.

"There's so many elements that come together it's not just supplying food, it's supplying a contact and supplying respect for them."

He said social distancing measures had forced them into a new model of delivery, the drive through.

"COVID-19 was a curve that we weren't expecting but we are very pleased with the way it has resolved itself," he said.

"For many of us we didn't really appreciate how dynamic the (old) model was.

"But our experience has been overwhelming none of us expected it to be the success it is.

"We know what we are doing and while we are not processing people as we would normally do, but it's almost like it used to be.

"People are asking 'when are you going to go back to the way it was'. We can't yet but ultimately when we finish this lock down we'll have a blend of the two systems," he said.