Jun 5, 2024 | Latest News, News

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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says the cost of living crisis is increasing the pressure on food services across the region and has welcomed the latest investment to support local families.

Mr Chester visited Foodbank Victoria’s newly established ‘Community Food Centre’ in Morwell, a purpose-built facility to address regional food insecurity, which will also serve as a hub for community engagement and practical food education.

“We are seeing more families across the region experiencing financial trouble, and it’s important that practical steps be taken to help the community,” Mr Chester said.

“Functioning as a centralised regional warehouse where Foodbank manages, stores, divides, packages, and distributes a wide range of food and goods to support vital food relief programs across the region, the centre will increase the supply of fresh, frozen, and chilled foods to Gippslanders experiencing food insecurity.

“Prior to Morwell Community Food Centre’s establishment, food and goods were sent from Foodbank Victoria’s distribution centre in Yarraville to smaller Gippsland-based Foodbanks, emergency relief agencies, and other local food relief agencies, which limited the supply of fresh, frozen and chilled foods.

“By centralising operations in Morwell, serving as a hub for the region, this new facility streamlines distribution, eliminating the need to transport large quantities of goods from Yarraville to Gippsland.”

The Morwell Community Food Centre also addresses regional food insecurity through community engagement and practical food education.

“Foodbank is also preparing to pilot a program from the Gippsland-based distribution centre called Strong Foundations,” Mr Chester said.

“This program is designed to engage and support women who are experiencing or may be susceptible to social isolation and encourage unemployed women to participate in community food literacy workshops and interactive cooking sessions.

“Through the Strong Foundations program, participants will learn practical skills and improve their self-agency, enabling readiness for employment or further training and volunteering opportunities within or outside the Foodbank Victoria network.”

Mr Chester congratulated Foodbank Victoria Chief Executive Officer David McNamara, Morwell Community Food Centre Manager Julie Pawley, and all involved in establishing the new facility.

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