People hoarding food from supermarkets, particularly when it leads to food waste, are contributing to a shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables for people in need in Orange.
Supporters of the Foodcare centre which provides food for people on low incomes in Orange says it needs more fresh fruit and vegetables to feed a growing demand.
Foodcare supporter Simon Wright said usual supplies from supermarkets which provided excess fresh food to the food relief group were down.
Certainly we are seeing a rise in the number of people coming to use our service.Sue Clarke, Foodcare committee member
"We're not blaming anyone. Normally supermarkets are able to help. Supermarkets are working frantically to fill their shelves for their normal customers," he said.
Mr Wright said people should stop hoarding food from supermarkets, particularly fresh items that had short use-by-dates that were likely to be thrown out unused.
He said it would also give supermarkets more capacity to be able to donate food to Foodcare.
Mr Wright said backyard gardeners who had surplus food including tomatoes and zucchinis were encouraged to donate it to Foodcare.
"As a community we can help out," he said.
"They [Foodcare] are really struggling to procure sufficient food for their clients, especially fresh fruit and veggies," he said.
"Generally they are doing OK on the dry goods."
He said members of Netwaste, the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange and Rotary were trying to help Foodcare.
Netwaste environmental learning adviser and Foodcare committee member Sue Clarke said they were seeking supplies from supermarkets, food rescue agencies and backyard gardeners who had surplus supplies.
"Certainly we are seeing a rise in the number of people coming to use our service," she said.
Ms Clarke said she could not confirm it was directly related to growing concerns about coronavirus, but it was happening around the same time.
She said they also asking anyone who was moving house and had excess fresh food that was still in date to donate it.
Anyone who can donate fresh fruit and vegetables to Foodcare is urged to call them on 0447 577 884.
Foodcare is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10.30am-1pm and on Thursdays from 4.30pm-6pm.
It also operates a free bus service to help people get to the March Street centre.
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe below...