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War on Waste is impacting Christmas food donations, says Foodbank boss

Dec 07, 2017
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A Tasmanian charity crying out for donations believes the campaign to reduce household waste may be having an impact on how much it can distribute this Christmas.

Foodbank distributes grocery donations across the state year-round and sends about 5,000 Christmas hampers to those in need during December.

This season its cupboards are bare and it is struggling to fill hampers.

Foodbank worker showing insignia on back
Photo:
The Foodbank is trying to fill 5,000 hampers to distribute around Tasmania. (ABC News: Georgie Burgess)

Chief executive Edward Gauden said donations were the lowest he has seen in seven years.

“We’ve got so many empty shelves at the warehouse at the moment, but even looking around the warehouse there’s stock that’s sitting here that’s not staple products and it’s products that can’t be used,” Mr Gauden said.

Mr Gauden said the organisation was getting fewer donations from large interstate producers.

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On a local level, he believes campaigns like the ABC’s War on Waste has people thinking twice about “wasting” food.

“Being quite blunt, the War on Waste is fantastic, but we’ve felt an impact on donations coming through, because people are more sensitive to using products for a longer time frame.”

Mr Gauden is calling on Tasmanian businesses to donate, as well as families who can afford it.

“You may be able to supply something out of your own pantry, or you may be able to donate,” he said.

“There is a need and at this time of year giving is very important.”

Recipients now giving back

Buckland man Brett Matte first received Foodbank’s groceries a year ago when he and his wife were living off a single Centrelink allowance.

Mr Matte now volunteers to give out food to those who, like him, need a helping hand.

Volunteers loading donated food bound for community centres
Photo:
Mr Gauden believes people are holding onto food rather than donating it. (ABC News: Georgie Burgess)

“We couldn’t have made it, I don’t know, we would have been on the street really without this place,” he said.

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“We can afford to eat now.

“There are people out there that really are hurting, so this is a godsend, it really is, and we love to be able to give back.”

Cradoc mother of eight Tammy is a weekly recipient of Foodbank’s services, and collects groceries from the Kingborough family church.

“If I didn’t come here we wouldn’t make ends meet, we wouldn’t have it,” she said.

“Food, rent, power – if it was down it’d be good but it’s not.

Toy Run hit by bad weather

The weekend’s wild weather affected several Salvation Army Christmas charity events, including the Toy Run.

Salvation Army volunteers sort donated Christmas toys
Photo:
Salvation Army is still looking for gifts for teenagers and girls aged 10-12. (ABC News: Georgie Burgess)

Heavy rain saw up to 2,000 participants pull out of the annual motorbike ride which provides thousands of toys to charity.

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The Salvation Army’s Brad Watson said he was pleased with the current amount of donations but more were needed.

“We had a few issues over the weekend with weather hampering some of our events, and even cancelling one we had up north so that impacted what we’ve received,” Mr Watson said.

“But in the mean time people have been very generous and finding ways to get toys to us.”

He said there was a need for donations of gifts for teenagers and girls aged 10 to 12.

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