Bunbury Foodbank manager Carol Hearn has revealed she has never seen the situation of people struggling so bad, with many of the shelves at the local charity empty and demand rapidly growing.
Mrs Hearn has revealed demand for meals has increased 17 per cent on the previous financial year, with more and more people coming through the doors in search of food and leaving without what they wanted.
“It’s tough – people are feeling it,” she said.
“They come in hoping to get some food but our shelves are empty. We don’t even have the basics like breakfast cereal, tinned peas, canned tomatoes and even the ingredients to make a stew or a soup.”
“We’re very busy with people coming in but sadly they’re leaving with their shopping baskets not full.”
Mrs Hearn said last year, Bunbury Foodbank provided more than 567,000 kilograms of emergency relief food or more that 1.13 million meals.
“We desperately need more supplies,” she said.
“We’ll take food from anyone and if it’s a large amount, we’ll even come and collect it from you.”
Mrs Hearn said a young boy recently won a raffle where the prize was a basket of food and he generously donated it to Foodbank.
“It’s hard to keep asking for food from our donors but we have to,” she said.
“Every little bit helps, if people can buy one extra can of food and donate it to us it makes a huge difference to people in need. That’s all it takes to help someone who has fallen on hard times.”
Foodbank chief executive officer Greg Hebble said demand for services in the last financial year was unparalleled, with demand outstripping supply, leaving more than 7,000 people across the state going hungry.
“Sadly, I can’t see the demand for our services ending soon,” he said.
“Demand is no longer seasonal it’s year-round. It used to be that winter was a busier time for us because struggling families are forced to choose between turning on the heater or buying food or paying their other bills.
“But every day of the year, a number of children will go to bed without dinner, turn up to school without having breakfast and won’t have lunch to eat.”
To donate to Bunbury Foodbank, visit foodbankwa.org.au or contact Carol Hearn on 9726 2362 to organise a food drive.