A much loved fresh produce store in Woonona is going into "COVID hibernation", also impacting how charity Need-A-Feed operates.
The irony of the situation is the owners of Manic Organic Whole Foods have been busy helping others they forgot to help themselves - ignoring their own financial hardships until it was too late.
Monday the doors to the Princes Highway store will close indefinitely making the collection and distribution of food hampers more challenging.
"I always talk about being vulnerable but we were just trying to make it work," co-owner of the store and founder of Need-A-Feed Shaz Harrison said. "We're really hoping to revive it and get back on our feet."
Thankfully Ms Harrison said the charity's output shouldn't be disrupted so food hampers will still somehow make it to people doing it tough, though they have seen a "significant increase in demand" for their services with this latest lockdown.
Need-A-Feed takes donations of non-perishable food as well as purchasing fresh produce and works with many organisations across the Illawarra such as SAHSSI, Berkeley Neighbourhood Centre, Illawarra Koori Mens Support Group, Wesley Community Centre, Illawarra Womens Health Centre and more.
Earlier this month, a St Vincent de Paul spokesperson told the Mercury generally 45-60 per cent of people who approach the service for help are in need of food, but that number jumped to 68 per cent in the Illawarra last year, and 73 per cent this year.
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