Ken Beasley, Jean Richards and Christine Watson. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

A NEW food share program launched in Bendigo last year is further highlighting the increasing presence of food poverty in the city.

The centre has been opened by the Anglican Parish of North Bendigo in Huntly, and provides four meal items per week to people who are pension or healthcare card holders.

A delivery of varying items to be distributed comes to the store each week from Bendigo Foodshare, including a range of fridge, freezer and pantry essentials, as well as fruit and vegetables.

More than 200 people have registered to use the service since it began in September, with that number increasing to more than 300 once family groups come in.

However, for the organisation’s other similar store in East Bendigo, it took a significant amount of time to reach near that amount of users, showing, according to coordinator Christine Watson, how much local people are struggling and doing it tough.

“It’s a wonderful program to have running, but it’s sad that it‘s been so popular,” she said.

“Somebody said to me the other day isn’t that wonderful that you have over 200 people registered.

“It’s wonderful that they are aware, but it’s a shame that it’s a program that is needed in the first place.”

For more information, call 5448 8434.