Council pays it forward

Deputy mayor John Gibbons, Lynnette Labuschagne from Newstart Church’s Manor Lakes FoodBank and mayor Josh Gilligan. Photo: Supplied 209048_01

By Alesha Capone

Wyndham mayor Josh Gilligan has presented a $5000 donation to two local foodbanks.

Every year, the municipality’s mayor hosts an event to raise money for charity or to celebrate volunteers, but this year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19 social distancing measures.

Cr Gilligan said that instead, he had chosen to donate the $5000 budget for the event to the Newstart Church’s FoodBank in Manor Lakes and Uniting Wyndham.

“This donation is one way we can help these tireless organisations as they work to support Wyndham families,” Cr Gilligan said.

The Newstart Church’s volunteer FoodBank co-ordinator Lynnette Labuschagne said the number of people seeking help had increased since the pandemic started.

She said the FoodBank was now assisting more than 70 families per fortnight.

Last week, the group provided food to 39 families, including 87 children.

Mrs Labuschagne said the FoodBank volunteers had been “overwhelmed” by Cr Gilligan’s $2500 donation.

“I was actually a bit shocked, we’re such a small charity and sometimes we think that nobody knows what to do,” she said.

She said that the group would put the donated sum towards the purchase of a secondhand van, to pick up supplies from Foodbank Victoria in Yarraville.

Mrs Labuschagne said that since the Manor Lakes FoodBank’s previous van had broken down, the charity had been using a trailer provided by one of its volunteers.

Uniting Wyndham’s senior manager of community services, Cathryn Ryan, said the organisation had noticed a rise of about 20 per cent in requests for assistance since the pandemic lockdown began in March, especially from people who have lost their jobs.

Ms Ryan said she was “very grateful” for Cr Gilligan’s donation, because winter is of Uniting Wyndham’s busiest times of the year.

Ms Ryan said Uniting Wyndham would use the donated money from the mayor to buy blankets and swags for “some of the most vulnerable people in the community”.

“We are especially grateful to the community and local businesses who are supporting us over this time and in general,” she said.