Warrnambool and District Food Share’s Dedy Friebe. Picture: Christine Ansorge
A rise in south-west soup kitchens and a quick response in times of crisis is proof of how far Warrnambool and District Food Share has come, its leader says.
Food Share executive officer Dedy Friebe said it was now time for the organisation’s model to be spread further afield.
“People need to look at our model, the way we service the community is a unique way, it’s not happening in that way anywhere else,” he said.
“We’re happy to share the love, we want people to see that it is possible for communities to look after their own.”
Mr Friebe said Food Share’s figures showed the organisation was serving a growing number of welfare groups.
He said the organisation provided food for about 50 people a day, an increase on previous years.
The number of group hampers is also up. Mr Friebe said these hampers went to local schools and the growing number of soup kitchens.
“I think part of the reason we’re seeing all these extra soup kitchens and breakfast programs is because these churches and well-being groups can access our food,” he said. “We’re really servicing those welfare areas where people can access hot meals. The school use has really grown too, not just with nurture rooms and breakfast programs, but we’ve had some funding from the South West Community Foundation which allows us to put a box of fruit in every school that wants it each week.”
In the wake of the St Patrick’s Day fires, the organisation was also quick to respond. “The farm scene is still difficult, the fire-ravaged areas are still feeling it. We’re still servicing those,” he said.
“When Blaze Aid was here they were coming in every fortnight. They served food in Terang for 104 days after the fires and they told us that four out of seven meals were supplied by Food Share. It just shows the capacity of Food Share to react… particularly in natural disasters or times of crisis.”