Droves queue for free food

Chobani and Foodbank volunteers gave out nearly 2000 hampers.

Almost 1000 cars queued for blocks in Dandenong South for a free food hampers give away on Sunday 4 December.

Timed for pre-Christmas, the Foodbank Victoria drive-through gave away nearly 2000 hampers or two per car at Chobani’s warehouse.

Each driver took home a box of pantry essentials and dry goods and a box of fresh fruit and veg as well as cartons of Chobani yoghurt.

Ahead of the 11am start time, drivers queued around the corner from Quality Drive to Frankston-Dandenong Road. None were turned away.

Foodbank Victoria chief executive Dave McNamara said the emergency relief was in response to unprecedented levels of “severe food insecurity” for Victorians ahead of Christmas.

Households had suffered under surging interest rates as well as food, rent and energy costs, he said.

“In the last fifteen years, I have never seen a situation like this.

“Not only are some of our largest charities reporting that they’ve moved from feeding 1,000 people a week to 1,400 people a week, but our distribution has also gone up 21 per cent – which is unheard of in the context of those fifteen years.”

About 50 volunteers from Foodbank and Chobani helped at the event.

Chobani general manager Tim Browne said his company had worked together with Foodbank for 10 years.

“Chobani’s purpose is to make a difference using food as a force for good.

“Where they need us to lend a hand – whether it be volunteers or our facilities – we do whatever they need to make magic happen.

“Just hearing some of the stories from those coming through on Sunday paints a challenging picture, so we were thrilled to play even a small part in easing pressure for families in the area this week.”