Union members help raise $13,000 to feed tenants

BRUNSWICK construction workers helped raise more than $13,000 to put food on the plates of public housing tenants.

Construction workers Pat Coen and Angelo Ruffato with food bank volunteer Graham Brown and volunteer co-ordinator Lyn Darmanin.

CFMEU workers dug deep to benefit Barkly St Food Bank, a Merri Outreach Support Services program that supplies essential food and groceries to about 100 public housing tenants each week. Service operations manager Katrina McAuley said the donation was welcome after a slump in donations forced the food bank to increase charges from a gold-coin donation to $4.

“(That) has impacted on the number of people that attend,” Ms McAuley said.

The dip prompted the service to approach Brunswick state Labor MP Jane Garrett for support, which in turn led to CFMEU organiser Gerard Benstead frequenting major construction developments in Brunswick.

“It has been great to see a younger generation of workers jump to help out people,” Mr Benstead said.

Ms McAuley said union members raised nearly $6000, a figure builders Hamilton Marino and Icon and developers Little and Blue Earth matched, pouring more than $13,000 into the service’s kitty.

“That money will go directly into buying items for the food bank for the next 12 months. (It was amazing) having these developers come down and say to volunteers we think what you do for the community is so important wewill give you $13,000.”

Volunteer co-ordinator Lyn Darmanin and her team host the food bank for residents of 351 Barkly St from 9-10.30am on Fridays and then, after lunch, residents with health care cards.

Anyone wishing to donate should call 9482 3488.

Moreland Leader, 8th July 2013