Tens of thousands of dollars worth of food has been donated to Shepparton Foodshare following an "on-air" radio food drive held last week.
Foodshare operations co-ordinator Bec Nicoll said hundreds of kilograms of much-needed groceries and hygiene products had been donated from local businesses including about 500 kgs of pork worth up to $10,000 from pasture-raised pigs at Harston's Goulburn Valley Pork.
GV Pork co-owner Sharon Young said she and husband Darren were only too happy to donate their product to charity if market fluctuations meant it would go to waste.
“Sometimes if there's a fridge malfunction or if we have a few bad farmers’ markets due to weather or something, we have pork left over,” Mrs Young said.
“I'd rather give it to families that need good food than give it away for pet food. It also means we can shut down the fridges and save us power,” she said.
She said GV Pork also donated to the the Ribs for Kids event held last week.
Ms Nicoll said she was overwhelmed with the generosity of GV Pork and other groups who responded to last week's charity food drive on a local commercial radio station.
“This means people will be able to experience a really high quality meal that they wouldn't normally be able to afford. People in the Goulburn Valley are really willing to put their hand in their pocket to help,” she said.
Ms Nicoll said new figures revealed by the 2019 Foodbank Hunger Report showed a 20 per cent increase in demand for help from struggling families and individuals.
“People are battling rising costs for housing and utilities, wage stagnation and low levels of Newstart - some of our own volunteers are on Newstart,” she said.
Ms Nicoll said Shepparton's Goulburn Valley Community Care and Emergency Relief in Campbell St often receives between 40 and 50 requests for food help a day.
“And that's just one agency,” she said.