Monday, 31 October 2022

In my first year as Governor, staff and volunteers of Foodbank SA kindly welcomed Rod and me to the Foodbank Edwardstown headquarters.

It is our pleasure to now reciprocate and host you here at Government House this evening and to acknowledge the outstanding contribution of Foodbank supporters and volunteers.

In May, I attended the Foodbank SA Women of Influence Luncheon where I had the opportunity to speak with volunteers. I was struck by their enthusiasm and commitment to Foodbank’s vision of providing healthy food for all.

That enthusiasm and commitment is vital in an environment that has unfortunately seen a 21% increase over the last twelve months in the number of people seeking help from Foodbank SA.

And it is through your sustained enthusiasm, commitment and assistance that will be able to help tackle food insecurity – and its wide-ranging consequences – in South Australia.

As patron of Foodbank SA, I was particularly proud to hear that amid adverse external factors, including the rising cost of fuel and freight and the ongoing challenges brought on by COVID-19, Foodbank SA was supported by more than 100,000 volunteer hours over the past 12 months – the highest in Foodbank SA’s 22-year history.

Whether you are packing orders at the Edwardstown warehouse, stocking the shelves at one of nine Food Hub’s across the state, delivering food to schools and welfare agencies, or helping with important office duties – your willingness to give your time is life-changing.

The scale of South Australia’s hunger problem – and the growing need for relief - can be measured by a particularly bittersweet milestone achieved by Foodbank SA earlier this year.

More than 10 million kilograms of fresh fruit and vegetables, used to provide more than 20 million meals across South Australia, has been donated by South Australian growers and wholesalers since September 2012.

Despite difficult economic circumstances, this milestone is testament to the generosity of food producers and retailers.

It is only through the financial and in-kind support from food and grocery industry, major donors and corporate sponsors that Foodbank can buy 700,000kg of food each year, put vehicles on the road, and facilitate the provision of healthy food to those who need it.

As the rising cost of living continues to cause more people to turn to charity – some for the first time in their life - it is critical that we continue to support Foodbank SA’s goal to tackle food poverty.

To volunteers, supporters and sponsors, thank you for offering your time and your talent to support Foodbank SA, and for the confirmation that South Australians will take care of each other in the hardest of times.