Foodbank under pressure

The Manor Lakes Foodbank is struggling to keep up with demand during the health crisis. Photo of volunteer Lynnette Labuschagne with the empty fridge open. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 206740_03

Esther Lauaki

Wyndham families are struggling to feed their children as food banks feel the strain of the COVID-19 health emergency.

Panic-buying has led to nationwide shortages of household staples including toilet paper, hand sanitiser, pasta and flour and key items are in short supply in suburbs across Melbourne’s west, despite supermarkets introducing strict buying limits.

The situation has forced more Wyndham families to access local welfare services like Manor Lakes Food Bank.

Foodbank manager Lynette Labuschagne told Star Weekly that numbers coming to the foodbank have increased three fold and their supplies are stretched to the limit.

“We’ve seen over 60 families of which 103 of the people in those families were children,” Ms Labushachagne said.

“Our numbers have increased dramatically.”

Wyndham council last week closed all of its community centres, including the Manor Lakes Learning and Community Centre which houses the foodbank.

But Ms Labushachagne said the service will still operate outside on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

“Everything is up in the air,”she said.

“We’re still operating outside under the awning of the centre and people have to bring along a healthcare card to access the service.

“Supplies are limited.

“We’ve never experienced this in our lifetime. We’ve been very comfortable in our ways and now this has struck us and it is quite overwhelming.”

She said supplies like cereal and milk, usually donated by supermarkets, have dried up.

“As long as we’re still getting donations from Oz Harvest and Foodbanks Victoria, we will continue to operate.

“Now and then people will drop by with donations of food and there is very little coming in at the moment.”

To donate non-perishables: or 0457 776 559