Published On: 14 April 2022Categories: Stories
Sally Danen and Jim Stefanoski

Waratah food panrty volunteers, Sally Danen and Jim Stefanoski.

About 100 people a week visit the neighbourhood centre come to collect food supplied by Loaves and Fishes: ready-to-eat meals, fresh produce and non-perishables. The food goes quickly and is greatly appreciated by those who call home to this remote region of the West Coast, as well as supplying Burnie and Wynyard.

Petrol is still $2.38 a litre despite the Federal Government slashing the fuel excise.

Sally, who moved to Waratah eight years ago from the Northern Territory where she worked as a cook on a outback station, is helping out at the food pantry operated by the Adventist Relief and Development Agency (ADRA) because she knows what it’s like to struggle to eat.

“I came from a big family in Toowoomba and we needed to get meals from a food bank” she said.

“That’s why I’m happy to help others. I know what it’s like to go hungry.”

Tough times in Rosebery
Tania Blake

Loaves and Fishes CEO Andrew Hillier with Rosebery Neighbourhood House coordinator, Tania Blake.

Times are equally tough in Rosebery where up to 70 people a week seek food relief from the neighbourhood house where Tania Blake is coordinator.

“People come from Tullah, Zeehan and Strahan for help,” she said.

“You’ve got the elderly, pensioners, 30-year-olds and families.

“We’ve got mainlanders who move here because it’s cheap housing, but find the home they have bought from a picture on the internet needs major renovations.

“Others can’t get work because of drug and alcohol issues, or mental health problems and sort of come here to hide.

“Food and fuel prices are knocking everyone around.

“People are grateful for the help from Loaves and Fishes.”

Kings of Queenstown
St Martin's parish volunteers

Queenstown volunteers unloading the Loaves and Fishes truck.

“This food program works,” says Jack Edwards, coordinator of the St Martin’s Church food program operating from a large shed in Queenstown.

Four or five volunteers are ready to unload the Loaves and Fishes truck when it arrives around lunchtime on a Wednesday.

Jack says the demand for food has decreased in the past 18 months, the number of clients down from 130 to around 50 each week.

“That’s about 70 families who don’t need help any more because of the support,” he said.

“This works, but it wouldn’t without you guys.”

Jack says people are grateful, chipping in $5 or $10 as a donation when they come to collect their produce.

“Everyone wants to feel like they are contributing.”

Andrew and Jack.

Jack Edwards (left) with Loaves and Fishes CEO Andrew Hillier

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