A vital organisation providing food relief to charities and schools in the South West celebrated 15 years of service at the weekend.
Foodbank Bunbury provided more than one million meals during the last financial year — proving its service is invaluable and inspiring.
From humble beginnings when it opened in 2004 in a bid to redirect food destined for landfill to charities needing emergency food, the organisation now supports 38 local charities and 50 schools.
Those charities include the In Town Centre, AccordWest, Food for Life in Collie, St Vincent de Paul and Foster Families South West.
Branch member Carol Hearn said the 15-year milestone was an “unbelievable” achievement.
“I can’t actually explain how amazing it is that we’ve come this far and we’re reaching so many people — it’s just actually quite emotional, it’s beautiful,” Ms Hearn told the Bunbury Herald.
About 80 people gathered at the Davenport facility on Saturday when staff, volunteers, local businesses, government and charity partners were recognised.
Ms Hearn said it was “very” important to recognise all supporters.
“Because without them we just would not be able to function at all,” she said.
“It’s not just about helping people, it gives them (volunteers) a purpose as well so I think it’s important in a lot of ways.”
She said a highlight across her nearly nine years at the branch was how much it had grown.
“We were doing 34,000 meals a month and now we’re over 90,000 just here,” she said.
“So I just think the fact that we’ve got this far and we’ve got really good support and the vehicles we’ve now got and I guess the amount of wonderful people I’ve met on this journey.”
The birthday celebration was also a timely reminder of the support still needed with the organisation calling out for help to replace its out-dated freezers.
About $7000 is needed for replacements and Ms Hearn said it was vital for the organisation.
“Those freezers were here before I came here, so not only are they shabby but the thing is they obviously use a lot more power,” she said.
“So it’s not just about looking beautiful, it’s the whole system, cutting costs and everything.”