CLOSING UP: Warwick Food Assist’s base closed in 2017 and its outreach could reach a similar fate if not for volunteers.
CLOSING UP: Warwick Food Assist’s base closed in 2017 and its outreach could reach a similar fate if not for volunteers.

Food charity forced to shut amid worst drought in history Charity lacks volunteer help

FAMILIES in need have been left to battle it out on their own after charity Food Assist closed its Warwick/ Allora outreach this week.

The Toowoomba-based charity, which provides food hampers at a discounted rate has had to halt outreach services because of a shortfall in volunteer numbers.

The charity ran a Warwick base but had to close in 2017 after running at a loss.

Organisation director Annette Rose said she was heartbroken by the decision to shut doors as it would significantly impact the Southern Downs communities the charity assists.

“A lot of the smaller towns [in the Southern Downs] are really struggling,” she said.

“It’s not easy to access resources like other people and more and more we’re seeing people pay their bills first before they buy food.

“Their bills have become the priority.”

As the range of those in need broadened, Mrs Rose said she’d witnessed countless examples of how the charity had helped those who would otherwise face homelessness and worse without the assistance.

“There was a poor woman from Warwick and Centrelink had made an error in her payments and all payments had stopped,” she said.

“She’s a mum of four who had a car payment due with no money and that won’t be sorted out for weeks.

“There’s often a stigma that people who need our help haven’t managed their money right, and it’s brought about as moral issue, but this is out of her control.

“She could lose her car and her home and her kids and we can’t even get to her because we don’t have the resources.”

Mrs Rose said the lack in numbers stemmed from both people needing to take on additional income or a lack of awareness of how desperate their fellow residents were.

“It’s a hard time for everybody,” she said.

“Hardship in life is one but the other is we’re not aware of the need.

“Until we experience something similar, we are unaware of the pain and heartache someone else is going through.”

Despite that, Mrs Rose pleaded to those who could to take a minute out of their day to change someone else’s day.

“I think one of the most important things is that when you contribute, what comes back is an abundance of life,” she said.

To volunteer, contact the Toowoomba office on (07) 4634 1157.



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