Foodbank to get new purpose-built facility

Picture: Foodbank There were tears of joy for Geraldton Foodbank Manager Pat Hodges when she found out that Foodbank Geraldton will be getting a purpose-built facility.

"This is the best thing since sliced bread, it really is," Pat said.

"I literally cried when I heard the news because this has been so long in the making."

Foodbank Geraldton Service the Mid West and Gascoyne and stretch as far as Carnarvon, Mt Magnet and Moora, covering over 250,000 square kilometres.

In just six years, Foodbank has increased 600% and they are outgrowing their current premises.

"We are really stretched for space here in our current premises," Pat said.

"We are having more and more people refereed to us for food so we are constantly busy with the amount of clientele we have."

Foodbank Geraldton has a group of 30-40 volunteers which pull the operation together to get food to those in need and Pat said everyone couldn't be more excited about the new facility.

The new facility will be funded by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program.

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the project was made possible with more than $2.14million from the State Government’s Royalties for Regions Mid West Investment Plan (MWIP).

“The current facility has many operational challenges, with safety a pressing concern.  The new purpose-built facility will allow Foodbank Geraldton to handle and distribute an increased volume of meals to keep up with the growing demand for emergency food relief in the Mid-West and adjoining regions,” Mr Redman said.
“There is opportunity to offer greater support to more people in need, through the local network of community support agencies that are dependent on Foodbank Geraldton.
“The facility will also provide additional volunteering and traineeship prospects, building sustainability in the region.”
Geraldton MLA Ian Blayney also welcomed the announcement.
“Foodbank in Geraldton does a wonderful job to service the whole community, and the region. I have been able to help Foodbank secure this land, so I’m very happy to see the go-ahead for this facility at last,” Mr Blayney said.
The facility will incorporate ample car parking and improved truck access, with space for forklift operation and client interaction.  There will also be dedicated storage spaces for fresh produce, frozen and chilled foods, which will reduce the excessive level of manual handling currently in place.
Foodbank Geraldton will tender for possible Mid-West contractors to construct the new facility, for which land has been provided on a peppercorn rent from the City of Greater Geraldton.
The new facility is set to open next year and will be located on the corner of Webberton Road and Crawford St.