Foodbank adapts to make hampers to feed needy during COVID-19 crisis

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Rod Pfeiffer.
Camera IconRod Pfeiffer. Credit: Shannon Smith

Foodbank Albany has adapted their service to bring COVID-19 emergency relief hampers to those with food insecurity in the Great Southern.

The food relief agency is preparing for a surge in people needing their services as they find themselves without a job and without government support. Foodbank Albany manager Rod Pfeiffer, pictured, said the initial threat of the pandemic forced them to adapt.

“As with many businesses and charities, COVID-19 harshly affected our ability to provide for people in need and our services were severely compromised,” Mr Pfeiffer said.

“We reached an all-time low in terms of our stock levels during March and April and we were relying on financial donations to have any chance of meeting demand.

“Our distribution centres were quickly transformed from a traditional grocery shopping experience to a ‘hamper only’ service to comply with the Government’s strict health and distancing conditions. This was a necessary change to allow us to continue to provide an essential service during this uncertain time, while also keeping staff, volunteers, agencies and customers safe.”

The service is bracing for September when they expect government stimulus and support packages to be switched off. Their hampers are filled with shelf-stable food products to aid nutrition.

Foodbank WA chief executive Greg Hebble said the Albany branch had been well supported.

“We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA and the local Albany community, as they have helped us continue to operate through these testing times, and to purchase essential food and groceries to pack and distribute emergency food relief hampers,” he said. “This has been the most challenging time in our 25-year history, however it has been wonderful to see that community spirit is strong in WA.” To donate, visit Foodbank Albany or foodbank.org.au.

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