Victorian Government announced support for food relief

Ros Spence (left) and Sue Zuber in the food storage. Picture: DONGYUN KWON

By Dongyun Kwon

With the high cost of living pressure, the Victorian Government decided to support Neighbourhood Houses across the State by investing in their food relief program.

Carers and volunteers minister Ros Spence visited Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House (KRNH) to announce the $6 million investment in delivering food relief for Victorian families in the 2024-25 Victorian Budget on Friday 10 May.

This includes $2.5 million for the Neighbourhood Houses food relief program which provides grants to neighbourhood houses to deliver food relief where it’s needed most.

Ms Spence said no Victorian should worry about having enough to eat.

“That’s why we’re delivering more food relief to support Victorian families that are doing it tough,” she said.

“We’re supporting our neighbourhood houses because so many of them play an important role in getting food on the table for Victorians who need it most.”

KRNH has a long history of supporting communities across the Yarra Ranges through social events, activities, education, food relief, special interest groups and their free counselling program Be Well in the Ranges.

KRNH president Sue Zuber said she is happy with the new announcement.

“We all realised how desperate people are and they are not coping with the shortage of food,” she said.

“Neighbourhood Houses are an essential place in any community where the community know where they can go for help to get assistance, so this $2.5 million is going to make a huge difference.”

KRNH has a food storage that offers food every Wednesday afternoon.

“Clients can go into the room and choose what they can use to make meals,” Ms Zuber said.

“We’re open on Wednesday afternoon from 1pm to 3pm, but we’re also open for emergency relief.

“So if we hear there’s a family that’s in dire straits and can’t make it in on Wednesday afternoon, we’ll invite them to come and organise some food relief for them.”

The neighbourhood house had to operate the food relief program by itself before this announcement.

The president said It was incredibly difficult to operate the food relief program without the Government’s support.

“We had to go in hand begging for the money. We would approach our local community,” Ms Zuber said.

“We asked supermarkets and food banks to access food.”

Ms Spence said the work that people do at neighbourhood houses is terrific.

“We’re really thankful for the work that they do and, in particular, during the cost of living crisis, we know that they do a large amount of work in providing food relief,” she said.