Food drive for asylum seekers

Michael Clarke and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre chief executive Kon Karapanagiotidis. (Supplied)

Goya Dmytryshchak

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre at Footscray is this month hosting its annual festive food drive to feed more than 1500 people over the holiday season.

The centre says it needs to restock its foodbank after demand tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASRC community food program manager Lisa Fitzgerald said donations would feed those with no safety net or means of support in Australia.

“Donations of food and groceries usually provide more than 70 per cent of the food and groceries distributed through Foodbank, even through the first few months of the pandemic,” she said.

“Since stage four restrictions were introduced, this dropped to 15-25 per cent while the number of households we were supporting tripled and hit an all time high.”

Maribyrnong council has supported the centre in conducting this year’s food drive in a public carpark next to the centre.

There will be a contactless drive-through, with volunteers directing people to parking bays and unloading donations directly from car boots.

Mayor Michael Clarke said this would make donating even easier.

“While this has been a challenging year for many of us and the upcoming festive season can be an added stress, it can be even more difficult for those who have been forced to seek refuge far from home,” he said.

“This is an opportunity to provide some Christmas cheer and I would encourage those who can to take part in this great initiative.”

The most needed items include canned vegetables, tuna, UHT full-cream milk, rice, legumes, tea, coffee, honey, biscuits, coconut cream, spices, laundry powder and soap.

The festive food drive is on Sunday, December 20, from 10am-2pm in the public carpark at 41–55 Albert Street, Footscray.

Donations can also be made via Coles online.