DEMAND for Horsham’s Christian Emergency Food Centre’s services is continuing to increase.
However the centre will be able to provide more help to the community after receiving a $10,000 donation.
The centre’s food, utility bill and transport services are available across the Wimmera and Southern Mallee regions.
Client assessment manager Bev Miatke said the money from the Commonwealth Bank’s centenary grants program grant would be put to good use.
“It will buy a lot of food of course,” she said.
“We do get some federal funding to go towards utility bills and prescriptions. We also have a fuel budget to help people get to specialist appointments out of town, so this will go towards all of that.
“It will also allow us to make sure that we have all the essentials on the shelves so that people can get what they need.”
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Mrs Miatke said the centre helped a range of clients.
“The biggest group who come into the centre are families, and the second-highest is young singles,” she said.
“Demand for services ebbs and flows, but we think it’s increasing.”
Mrs Miatke said Wimmera people who were homeless also often used the centre’s services.
“Homelessness is more common than people might think,” she said.
“Younger people tend to be able to do couch-surfing, while older people who find themselves homeless will sleep in their car.
“You don’t see them on the street, so you don’t expect them to be there, but they are.
“Even if someone is couch-surfing, then technically they are homeless. Homelessness is an issue everywhere, even in small country towns.”
Mrs Miatke said winter had been particularly busy with people wanting help with utility bills.
“While we can’t pay all their bills, we can certainly advocate for them with the electricity companies and make a payment so their electricity doesn’t get cut off,” she said.
Horsham Commonwealth Bank Regional and Agribusiness Centre analyst Tracey Taylor said it was an honour to give the centre the donation.
“Our employees have been volunteers at the centre for the last two years,” she said.
“We naturally thought of the food centre as a great recipient for the grant – they deserve it.”
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or seeking the services of Christian Emergency Food Centre, drop into their store at 28 Firebrace Street, Horsham.