Last year was a difficult time. Australians were still recovering from the devastating bushfires when COVID-19 took hold.
People lost their jobs and had to queue up at local food banks and Centrelink offices for help, and relief agencies like Foodbank struggled to keep up.
Foodbank CEO Brianna Casey says that available food was worryingly low after the bushfires, and panic-buying meant there was very little surplus food and groceries available to rescue.
“We experienced a 75 per cent increase in demand for food relief in the first months of the pandemic, with entirely new cohorts seeking help, many of whom had never needed food relief before.
“At the same time, we had a 27 per cent decrease in donations and demand was dramatically outstripping supply.
“Fonterra, and our many other partners, got Foodbank and hundreds of thousands of Australians through drought, floods, and bushfires, and they stepped up again last year during COVID-19.
“In fact, with the help of the food and grocery industry and our national partners, we sourced more emergency relief items in three months than we had the previous three years, it was incredible,” says Brianna.
Fonterra has been a partner of Foodbank for over 12 years, and last year we contributed dairy foods to the equivalent of 214,900 meals, along with 103,500 litres of fresh milk for Victorians.
Fonterra Australia Managing Director René Dedoncker says that Fonterra’s longstanding partnership with Foodbank is something that we are incredibly proud of.
“We care about the health and wellbeing of Australians, and we entered this partnership because we wanted to make a real difference by bringing the goodness of dairy to those doing it tough.
“We saw last year just how important food relief agencies are in supporting communities right across the country.
“It’s humbling to think that our donations have played a part in helping Foodbank reach three million people across Australia,” says René.
Foodbank has another big year ahead – with the winding back of government relief, and the full global economic impacts yet to be felt – there will be many more Australian’s needing a helping hand.
However, they won’t be alone – we’ll be there supporting any way we can.