Help a Friend in Need

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Ocean Keys Ocean Keys Shopping Centre is running a Friend in Need food and cash drive, which finishes on Monday, December 18.

FRIEND in Need, which provides meals to the people down on their luck will move to Butler in February.

The not-for-profit program feeds on average 70 families a week in the northern coastal suburbs, providing a minimum 1800 meals a week.

For nine years the volunteer-run program, run by i60 Community Services, has kept up with the demand in the community, which has grown steadily since 2015.

The program supports a range of people in the community including young families between mining contracts, immigrant families, single parent families, those who have lost their job and pensioners.

i60 Community Services chief executive officer Trish Botha said the move to Butler along with the dedicated Friend in Need van bought last year would help them reach as many people in need as possible.

“Last year we secured our first van which allowed us to double our food collections from suppliers and in turn double the number of families we could help,’’ she said.

“This new facility will also go a long way in helping us expand as we can spend less time running between food preparation and delivery points and put these hours into collection as the need in the community is still growing.

Ms Botha said toward the end of 2015 they predicted an increase in the number of people seeking support and were proven right, with meals supplied per annum steadily increasing to the 80,000 recorded this year.

“Last year we went from running one food distribution night at one location, to two nights at two locations because the need was so great.

She said Friend in Need supplied food to about 300 people a week at their distribution nights, providing enough nutritious food to last two days, with the value of food supplied worth about $60 a family.

They aim to provide fresh fruit and vegetables, meat protein and dairy, as well as breakfast foods, pasta, rice, canned vegetables and bread.

The cost of the program is about $21,000 a year but food worth about $210,000 was distributed to the community with the help of donations.

To help ensure Friend in Need families do not go hungry over Christmas, Ocean Keys Shopping Centre is running a Friend in Need food and cash drive, collecting cash donations and canned or dry foods in-centre.

Nutritious canned or dry foods are requested and can include (in-date) pasta, baked beans, canned tomatoes, rice, breakfast cereals and similar pantry items, which can be dropped off at the centre’s information desk along with cash donations.

Businesses wanting to support the cause can contact Sonell at the i60 Community Services office on 9562 3002 or the Ocean Keys information desk on  9407 2411.

Collections at Ocean Keys will run until Monday, December 18. Those seeking support from Friend in Need can contact Di at the i60 Community Services office on 9562 3002.