Food relief skyrockets throughout Wheatbelt

Support: Bridgeley Church of Christ is asking the community for food donations to help some of the region's most vulnerable. Photo: Supplied.
Support: Bridgeley Church of Christ is asking the community for food donations to help some of the region's most vulnerable. Photo: Supplied.

With Wheatbelt welfare organisations closing their doors in the wake of federal government recommendations in response to COVID-19, a Northam church has seen demand for its food services skyrocket.

Usually providing up to 20 meals and food packages a week to at-risk families, Bridgeley Church of Christ has seen its clientele expand to the elderly, people self isolating and those newly out of work.

The number of people they used to support each week with the ministry is now their daily average.

Despite no longer running Sunday services, the church will continue to provide its welfare programs which includes the food ministry and a social connection phone line.

Bridgeley Church of Christ pastor Kym Edwards said there was a huge need for food in the Northam and wider Wheatbelt region.

"We've seen a dramatic increase in people coming in looking for staples such as toilet paper and pantry items just because they can't get their hands on them," he said.

"We've seen an increase in people requesting food deliveries because they are in isolation to protect themselves.

"We aren't just facing a health issue, we are looking at a social and mental issue. We want to help be the solution."

Mr Edwards said the support given to families through the gift of food helped foster a sense of community.

"It might only be for a short amount of time that we have to help a family but we might change their perspective on generosity and what it means to accept a gift," he said.

"Sometimes that can be the hardest thing - receiving something that you know had to be paid for."

With an increase in demand, so too comes an increase for community support and donations.

"At the beginning of last week we were really worried," Mr Edwards said.

"Up until last week it has been the Bridgeley church community that has funded everything.

"When you have a church of only a few hundred and a community of 12,000 people, it doesn't take long to dry up.

"We have the capacity to last another week on our current intake of food without any other donations coming in.

"We don't need a couple of people giving lots, we need lots of people giving a little. If those that can, can give, we can see our community through any challenge."

Bridgeley Church of Christ is asking for donations of staple pantry items including microwave rice, long life milk, individually wrapped toilet paper, tissues and canned soups.

For more information contact 9622 3981.