Bendigo Foodshare is appealing to the community to help raise money for its new premises and community food hub.
The campaign, named Mission Possible, will use the money raised to fit out a larger warehouse and create a community food hub at the organisation's new headquarters on 123 Garsed Street, Bendigo.
Bendigo Foodshare manager Bridget Bentley said the campaign had attracted $1.4 million so far, but it still needed an additional $300,000 to complete the community food hub.
The hub will include a social supermarket, pop-up cafe, a cooking skills training area, and a food garden.
Ms Bentley said the organisation was overwhelmed to reach the $1.4 million milestone.
"The additional help from our generous community will enable us to build a larger facility and continue the fight against food poverty in our region," she said.
Ms Bentley said to keep up with the increasing demand during COVID-19, Bendigo Foodshare doubled its volunteer workforce, while the amount of food sourced and distributed rose from 755,000 to 893,000 kilograms.
"We need to do more and cannot because we've outgrown our facility at Long Gully," she said.
"Our new warehouse will double our food storage capacity, with bigger cool, cold and ambient storage."
Bendigo Foodshare chairwoman Cathie Steele said the upgrade was critical to achieve long-term food security across the region.
"Our new home will be a community food hub. It will be an inclusive and inspiring place where people can develop growing, cooking and sharing skills and can access fresh, healthy food cheaply and in a dignified way," she said.
The state government, Kirkland Lake Gold, ISPT, Y2 Architects and Fairbrother, The Yulgilbar Foundation, City of Greater Bendigo have all contributed to the project, among other donors.
Bendigo mayor Jennifer Alden said the City had contributed $140,000 towards the new Garsed Street site.
"The site is now the focus for Bendigo Foodshare's future operations and council has made a decision to support this project through both cash and in-kind assistance," she said.
"The City has worked closely with Bendigo Foodshare since 2015 to develop a community food hub that provides a long-term sustainable facility that will help address food insecurity that exists in our community."
Cr Alden said the establishment of the hub was important for Greater Bendigo.
She said the council was keen to support Foodshare and others to investigate the potential for other complementary elements that could be located with the hub.
Ms Bentley encouraged people to join the campaign.
"To create our community food hub space, we want this to be a true community effort," she said.
"We encourage everyone to ask themselves 'what's their mission possible'? There are so many ways to help. Every cash or in-kind donation counts. It's a big goal, but is 'mission possible' if we all work together."
Ms Bentley said people could get involved with the Bendigo Foodshare Mission Possible campaign or donate here.
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