Banking on local good Samaritans

Bank of Melbourne's Tony Palmer, Elaine Sweeney and Brendan Grenfell, right, celebrate Barwon Health Kids Appeal funding of $7500 with Barwon Health's Zoe Waters.

Bank of Melbourne is helping feed the hungry in Geelong by funding a key supplier in the city’s efforts to support people doing it tough.

The bank recently gave a $50,000 grant to FareShare, which works with Geelong Food Relief Centre to provide fresh produce and nutritious meals to local battlers.

The centre has helped more than 36,000 people around Geelong in the past year, according to its chief executive officer Collin Peebles.

For almost 30 years the centre has supported an ever-increasing number of Geelong locals struggling to make ends meet, Collin says.

“People are often surprised to hear that only one per cent of those we support are homeless – the vast majority are single or double income households who are struggling financially and don’t have the means to purchase groceries after they’ve met their financial commitments.”

Since July 2018, FareShare has supplied 47 tonnes of fresh food to the centre to provide emergency relief to those who need it most.

With the help of more than 90 volunteers, aged between 18 and their late 70s, the centre has become one of the busiest regional food banks in Victoria, Collin says.

The volunteers help with everything from admin, transport, warehouse logistics and cooking onsite to serving behind the counter of the centre’s minimart, he says.

Now Bank of Melbourne Foundation is searching for more Geelong causes to support, after providing more than $3.5 million in grants to 120 charities since 2013.

The foundation recently held its annual fundraising gala at Melbourne Town Hall, raising more than $500,000 that will be distributed in grants of up to $50,000 to small charities that receive little or no government funding.

“Local charities are the heart of our communities,” says Michelle Winzer, Bank of Melbourne’s chief executive.

“Bank of Melbourne is proud to support the important work of organisations like FareShare and Geelong Food Relief Centre to lend a helping hand to people who are going through a tough time.”

Bank of Melbourne’s Brendan Grenfell and his team in Geelong and Waurn Ponds engage with their local communities to support the causes and organisations that are important to their fellow residents.

Bank of Melbourne Foundation is currently accepting applications for its next funding round. To find out more visit info.bankofmelbourne.com.au/foundation.

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