Wollongong charity's food drive putting smiles on faces

Amanda Kelly and son Damien with  Shaz Harrison-Shaw from Need a Feed. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Amanda Kelly and son Damien with Shaz Harrison-Shaw from Need a Feed. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Wollongong charity Need A Feed is planning more food drives to help families in need after figures showed a spiralling demand for its services.

The call to action comes after Wollongong Emergency Housing (WEH) revealed it had helped more than 1000 families in 2013 but this year the need was even greater.

WEH director Julie Mitchell said her organisation had provided housing to more than 120 families last year but gave additional support to a further 889 families.

Mrs Mitchell this week joined Need A Feed founder Shaz Harrison-Shaw in paying tribute to the Fairy Meadow community, the local Woolworths supermarket and the suburb's Bendigo Bank branch which helped collect enough food to distribute 200 food packs to 100 families on Tuesday.

That generosity included 20 trolleys of food collected for distribution to WEH clients.

Each family received two food packs, one with non-perishable food and the other with fresh fruit, bread and cakes.

After the distribution, Mrs Harrison-Shaw said she hoped to increase the frequency of food distributions.

Tiv Nightingale and Troy Wiseman distribute parcels of food. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Tiv Nightingale and Troy Wiseman distribute parcels of food. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

But, to do them more regularly, she said more people and businesses would need to follow the lead of Woolworths, Bendigo Bank, Curves in Thirroul and Bulli Community Pre-School which were all involved in the latest food drive.

There were also donations of fresh food by Bulli Fruit and Deli, Flemings Cakes in Thirroul and Vina Bake House at Woonona.

Even the orange bags to put the food in were donated by ABC Kitchens and Bathrooms.

Mrs Harrison-Shaw is already organising a food collection in July for distribution to Access Community Group clients in the Corrimal and Shellharbour areas in August.

That will be followed by an October collection for distribution by Berkeley Neighbourhood Centre and CareSouth in November.

She said the volunteers and donors involved needed only to see the smiles on children's faces to know how worthwhile their efforts were.

"Everyone was very grateful. The kids were running around happy. That is the most rewarding thing."

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