'More people are suffering food insecurity during lockdown'

As the lockdown continues, more people are struggling to put food on their tables.

Two mums are calling out to the community to "kick into gear" and help those hit hard from the lockdown.

Donna Falconer and Michelle Preston brought OzHarvest to Narooma and surrounds earlier this year.

Across the country, more people than ever are experiencing food insecurity. Image: OzHarvest Facebook.

Across the country, more people than ever are experiencing food insecurity. Image: OzHarvest Facebook.

They work alongside a team of volunteers who operate out of the Ecotel at Narooma, preparing weekly food hampers. They deliver them to homes from Bodalla to Bermagui.

Since the lockdown, Ms Preston said the demand for hampers tripled.

"We estimate that the longer lockdown goes on, hampers will increase by 20 percent each week," she said.

"People are going hungry."

"A lot of the time it's the people that you wouldn't expect," Ms Falconer added.

Ms Preston said more people were struggling with no work and reaching out for hampers.

"People are worrying about how they are going to pay their rent or mortgage; they're worrying about what their next meal is going to be and how they're going to pay for their next round of medication or how to put fuel in their car," Ms Preston said.

"The walls are closing in on people and they are genuinely in a financial crisis."

During their hamper drop-offs, they could see how people's mental health was crumbling.

"There has been an increase in domestic violence, job insecurities and house insecurity," Ms Preston said.

"Lockdown makes everything so much harder for people who are already vulnerable.

"We can't stop to chat to them, but can point them in the right direction to get mental health support when we drop off the hampers," Ms Preston said.

By delivering nutritious food, Ms Preston said people don't feel forgotten.

Just like the fire and flood crises, Ms Preston said people need quick and immediate help.

We need the community spirit we had throughout the fires ...

Michelle Preston

She hoped the community would kick into gear and support OzHarvest.

"We have to get back to basics; we need the community spirit we had throughout the fires," she said.

"We still haven't got over the fires and floods, but if our community can kick in quickly to support OzHarvest, we can make sure we have enough to feed those in need."

As the need for hampers increases, so does the need for donations.

For those who are better placed during the lockdown and have time to spare, Ms Preston said home cooking would be a lovely contribution to the hampers.

"We are open to donations of cooked food, slices, eggs or whatever anyone wants to donate," she said.

"Food donations can be dropped off to the Ecotel."

Basic supplies packed into hampers. Image: OzHarvest Facebook.

Basic supplies packed into hampers. Image: OzHarvest Facebook.

Ms Preston said one volunteer grows veggies in Tilba, and has been collecting seeds to put in the hampers.

"The hampers are made up of pantry staples, veggies, meat and bread," Ms Preston said.

Narooma's volunteers were pre-preparing about 100 hampers to the current OzHarvest budget.

Items included were from Narooma and Bermagui Woolworths, Rapleys Butchers and Southlands Fruit and Veg.

Another way to support OzHarvest was to become a "hamper hero" and donate online, CLICK HERE.

OzHarvest was also collaborating with the Good Folk Cafe and Monty's Place.

"We are able to hand out and deliver their delicious meals to people," Ms Preston said.

For more information, reach out to Michelle Preston on 0477053175 or visit the OzHarvest Facebook Page or website.

This story 'More people are suffering food insecurity during lockdown' first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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