Westfund partners with LINC to address food insecurity in Lithgow and surrounding communities
Lithgow, NSW – Westfund Health Insurance has donated a van to the Lithgow Information & Neighbourhood Centre (LINC) to tackle food insecurity in and around the Lithgow area.
Food insecurity occurs when people or communities do not have reliable access to sufficient, affordable and nutritious food. The impact of food insecurity on health can be devastating, with people forced to make trade-offs in food choices and the management of their health conditions. Outside of the impact on nutrition and health outcomes, food insecurity also has long-term effects on kids' development, academic performance and social and emotional health.
In 2017 LINC launched a small food rescue program in partnership with SecondBite to help tackle the problem of food insecurity in the local area. Overwhelmed by need, they quickly expanded the program, scaling to support over 200 individuals and families a week.
Then COVID-19 hit, driving up demand and putting further strain on an already stretched service.
Westfund Health Insurance originally partnered with LINC in late 2020, donating $10,000 to relaunch the group’s hamper service in the lead up to Christmas. When an opportunity emerged for LINC to expand its food rescue program with fresh produce, the health fund was there to support.
Westfund’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Genovese explained: “When we realised access to a vehicle was stopping LINC from getting fresh produce in the hands of the community’s most vulnerable, we moved quickly to find and donate a van. It’s a privilege to be able to support groups like LINC who are working tirelessly to make communities healthier and happier places for all.”
LINC’s Community Hub Manager, Leanne Walding has been working with LINC for the last three years: “We needed a designated food vehicle to collect produce from our rescue partners. With Westfund donating a vehicle, we can now increase our food capacity meaning more vulnerable people in the community now have access to a nutritious diet.”
Over the past 18 months more than 2,600 people in the Lithgow area have accessed LINC’s food rescue service.
“Westfund’s support has also opened up supply options and secured food that provides basic nutrition and care,” she said.
Please note that LINC is currently closed to the public and will remain so while stay at home orders are in place. If you need support, please contact LINC directly via phone (6352 2077) or email ([email protected]) to register your support needs and book a time for a COVID safe pick up. Pickups are available on Friday from 12 noon.