DEMAND on a Border emergency food provider is up 50 per cent, driven by the winter cold.
Single parents and young men in particular are seeking help from St David’s Uniting Church’s relief program.
The church yesterday appealed for more people and groups to help out with cash or food donations.
The Freemasons’ Farrer Lodge quickly answered the call, handing over $1000 it raised with its twice-a-year sausage sizzle outside Bunnings in Albury.
Church council chairwoman Mary Sullivan said the number of people seeking help had grown significantly.
“Two years ago we were seeing 20 clients a week and now it’s 30 — a 50 per cent rise,” she said.
“We get food through FoodShare Wodonga and anything else we accept as donations.
“We don’t ask for any government funding.”
Mrs Sullivan said the program provided about $120 a week.
“The Freemasons’ donation for $1000 is huge in terms of other donations we get,” she said.
“It will keep us going for two months.”
Lodge members Ross Altass and Peter Wilson handed over the cheque to the program as it received a delivery from FoodShare.
Mr Wilson said each sausage sizzle raised about $700.
“Ross Altass had heard about (the emergency food relief program) through St Matthew’s where he’s in the congregation,” he said.
“The program is doing a pretty good job by the sound of things and Mary Sullivan was thrilled by the donation.”
Mrs Sullivan said those seeking help were often “in dire need”.
“We have people in tears because this means they will be able to feed their children,” she said.
Mrs Sullivan said food was often the last on the list of other commitments that had to be met, with utility and other bills taking priority.
The program keeps detailed statistics, which reveals most clients are single parents — both male and female — and single males on government benefits.
Mrs Sullivan said the group was happy to accept both cash and food donations.
“At Easter, we had a food donation from the Corowa Anglican parish that had a collection of food as part of its Lent appeal,” she said.
“We have organisations within our congregation like the fellowship groups that collect food for us as well.”
The food the church suggests people might donate includes pasta, pasta sauce, tinned fish, rice, cereals and UHT milk.
Mrs Sullivan said it was possible demand could rise even more now the winter chill had set in.
“You tend to think that we’re a relatively well-off community, but there are people out there doing it really tough,” she said.
“And a third of our food goes to children.”