Midland’s Ascension Emergency Food Relief faces higher demand


Christine Brackley, Mike Salmon and Audrey Baker, all are volunteers for the Ascension Emergency Food Relief service at the Ascension Church in Midland. Picture: David Baylis
Christine Brackley, Mike Salmon and Audrey Baker, all are volunteers for the Ascension Emergency Food Relief service at the Ascension Church in Midland. Picture: David Baylis

MORE people facing financial difficulty are calling on Midland’s Ascension Emergency Food Relief (AEFR) to feed them and their families.

As well as parcels including pasta, sauce, tinned foods and other goods such as biscuits and tea, the Spring Park Road church volunteers hand out bread, fruit, vegetables and personal care items when donated.

The service opens 10am to noon every Friday and includes a fortnightly men’s group where visitors are encouraged to grab a sausage sizzle and a chat.

Co-ordinator Audrey Baker said the number of people visiting the church to collect groceries each week was “through the roof”.

“What we’ve done is a sort of assessment and people come either weekly if they’re really going through a bad time or it will be three-weekly and that keeps our numbers down between 30 to 35 (people) at the moment,” she said.

“We’ve had to spread them out a little bit because we were heading towards 50 (people) and in a two-hour period, it’s not physically possible to talk to all of those people and help them with groceries, plus getting enough groceries because we’re not funded.

“We just exist on stuff that we’re given which is marvellous.”

Mrs Baker said they were seeing an increase in the number of homeless people in the area.

“Some of the homeless people, they’re not all down and out, it’s just people who have suffered unfortunate life circumstances,” she said.

“A few weeks ago, we had a young couple with two gorgeous little girls; they’d been living in their car.

“They both worked at the same place, it closed down so they both lost their jobs.

“We were able to help them. I think we helped them find them accommodation, we do not normally do that and they came back about three weeks later and said ‘we don’t need groceries anymore but we’ve just come to thank you’. It was just beautiful.”

Mrs Baker said the men’s group was a new addition to the service and one she hoped would grow.

“There’s a lot of depression, we’re hearing a lot about men being depressed and suiciding,” she said.

“When people come in to get groceries, we let the guys know about the sausage sizzle down the back of the church hall and most of them wander down and have a bit of a yarn.”

AEFR will hold a fundraising garage sale from 8am to 3pm on Sunday, May 7 with people invited to attend and to contribute goods such as kitchenware, household linen, bric-a-brac, jewellery, clothes, tools and books.

They can be dropped off at Ascension Hall (opposite the church) at 17 Spring Park Road on Saturday, May 6 from 9am to noon.

Food donations can be given when the service opens Fridays or arranged by contacting Audrey on 0409 118 786 or abak8530@bigpond.net.au.

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