Foodbank hails Arc’s vital donation

Emily AceSouth Western Times

Foodbank has welcomed a generous donation from Arc Infrastructure with open arms, as Bunbury branch manager of eight years Carol Hearn concedes this year was so far the “worst Christmas we have had since I have been here”.

Arc Infrastructure operates more than 5000km of WA’s freight rail network and is partnering with the food service to provide 60,000 meals Statewide.

The donation has been made in lieu of Christmas gifts to Arc’s customers and stakeholders, and will help Foodbank WA stock five regional distribution centres, including the Bunbury branch.

The situation is dire at the food service, with only a small flow of donations struggling to keep up with increasing demand.

“Not as much is coming through now and I guess it is because there are other charities and people are finding it hard themselves,” she said.

“There are definitely more people coming in than last year.”

She said Arc’s well-timed donation would make a significant difference and hoped other South West businesses would follow their lead.

“You can’t put into words the difference it will make,” she said.

“I want to thank them for their generosity.”

Foodbank chief executive Greg Hebble said the company’s $30,000 donation was a lifeline, as the charity’s food supply was the lowest it had ever been.

“We are desperately seeking more food to provide to families in need this Christmas, so we know that there won’t be anything left over when we come back from the Christmas break,” Mr Hebble said.

“Our regional branches are really feeling it and are on the brink of having to turn people away.”

The Foodbank Hunger Report 2018 reveals that Australians in regional and remote communities are 33% more likely to experience food insecurity than those living in cities, and are more likely to have difficulty coping with their circumstance feeling stressed, depressed and embarrassed.

Arc Infrastructure chief executive Paul Larsen said regional communities were of paramount importance to Arc, which hoped to make a “real difference in the communities surrounding our network”.

“By providing assistance to Foodbank WA, we can have an immediate positive impact in our communities by being part of a meaningful, practical program that really helps those in need,” he said.

Mrs Hearn thanked community members who had already brought in food items this festive season, as “every single donation counts”.

She hoped residents would consider giving to those who have nothing this Christmas and specifically requested donations of breakfast cereals, which were in high demand.

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