The bushfire crisis was devastating for communities in Victoria’s Towong and Alpine Shires. Many people, having lost their homes and incomes, being in dire need of essentials like food and water.
The local response was extraordinary. Organisations like Albury Wodonga Regional FoodShare stepped up to facilitate food donations. In the month of the fires, AWRFS delivered nearly 200 tonnes of donated food, water and essential goods to the fire grounds.
However, the need in fire impacted communities remains.
The smoke had only started to clear when these communities, many of which rely heavily on tourism, were then impacted by COVID-19. Any tourists bringing their empty Esky into these towns to help with rejuvenation were stopped in their tracks by this global pandemic, along with the hope of an economic reconstruction. Many people living in bushfire affected areas are still under a tremendous amount of pressure.
‘It really has been, and continues to be, a precarious day-by-day situation for many people in our bushfire towns and this grant will help to replenish our stocks and enable us to get more food and essentials into these communities,’ Albury Wodonga Regional Foodshare Chair Simon Welsh said.
‘For many people, it’s the first time they’ve ever had to ask for help like this. For proud, hard-working people that can be really hard in itself.
‘Our great challenge is not just securing the volume of food needed, it’s making sure we get that food to everyone who needs it. We won’t leave anyone behind.
‘The grant from the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund will enable us to ensure our food supply and make it easier for people in need to access food and other essential items.’
Since the fires, AWRFS has experienced a sustained 40 per cent increase in demand for food. The organisation and its 100-plus volunteers continue to work tirelessly in securing and distributing food to those in need across north-east Victoria.
Every day, the organisation provides enough food to feed more than 2,500 people.
Thank you for your generous donation to the Appeal.