Flooded Brisbane Foodbank to restart distribution

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 13th January 2011

vicrelief.jpgFood relief agency Foodbank is calling for assistance with its critical role in Queensland’s emergency support efforts, with its warehouse in the Brisbane suburb of Morningside due to reopen tomorrow after evacuation yesterday.

The organisation said that its industry donors have dug deep in response to a call for extra supplies and, so far, have committed 400,000 kilograms of food and groceries, worth close to $3 million, with more pledges coming in daily. Donations include all the basic supplies required by households forced to start from scratch, ranging from bread, tea and canned meals to nappies and toilet paper.

Until the flood water threatened its Morningside warehouse close to the Brisbane River, Foodbank Queensland had been working to disseminate food and other essential items to welfare agencies in those country Queensland areas first affected by floods. These supplies are aimed at helping flood victims who are returning to their devastated homes to begin the cleanup process.

Right up until Foodbank staff were forced to move stock to higher shelves and evacuate the warehouse for their own safety, they were providing local agencies such as the Salvation Army with breakfast cereals, juice and other essential supplies for emergency centres set up for evacuees.

In the meantime, the charity said the focus remains on the logistical challenge of facilitating the delivery of the vital food industry’s donations from around Australia to Queensland for distribution.  Foodbank said it was thankful for the offer of ‘priority transport’ from  Emergency Management Queensland, to ensure that the food industry convoy makes it through the road closures to the Foodbank warehouse as soon as operations are able to recommence.

Foodbank said it is not unfamiliar with this scenario, having played a similar role in the relief effort following Cyclone Larry in 2006. However, according to the General Manager of Foodbank Queensland, Ken McMillian, the current crisis will eclipse anything that has gone before.

“We are a relatively small warehouse and the total amount of food that’ll need to pass through here to meet demand will far outstrip our capacity at any one time. The key will be to stagger the deliveries over the coming months so we can provide the right quantities as and when they are needed,” McMillian said.

“We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of the food industry in this time of desperate need – we put out a ‘cry for help’ to our donor partners and within a few days had been offered sufficient key staple food and grocery items to fill over 40 trucks. There was not a single knock-back and others have offered to help us with additional storage and trucking capability in the Brisbane area,” said John Webster, CEO of Foodbank Australia.

“To all those companies and individuals who are assisting us, I want to offer a huge thank you. Their generosity will make such a difference to so many families currently facing extreme hardship and who will soon have the daunting task of putting their lives back together.”

Foodbank’s list of national donors features a roll-call of many of Australia’s food and supermarket giants – including Cadbury, Coca-Cola Amatil, SPC Aardmona, Schweppes, Green’s, SunRice, Unilever, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Mars, Nestle, McCain, Simplot, Golden Circle, Heinz, Lenard’s, Dairy Farmers, Fonterra, Goodman Fielder, Woolworths, Coles, Metcash, Aldi, Menora Foods, Patties, Smith’s, Sara Lee, Sanitarium, Proctor and Gamble, George Weston, Campbell Arnott’s, Rinoldi, Nutricia, Ferrero and Sugar Australia.

People wishing to support Foodbank’s effort can donate non-perishable food items and funds or volunteer to assist in Foodbank warehouses around Australia. All efforts will assist in ensuring that the Foodbank network around the country is able to support the Queensland operation meet the huge demand for its services over the coming, days, weeks and months.

As a sponsor of Foodbank, Australian Food News would like to invite concerned readers to donate to the charity’s flood relief efforts at the Foodbank website.