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It was a memorable occasion last Friday when local food pantry provider, Corryong FoodShare Services, officially opened its new premises in Harris Street.

The honours were carried out by Member for Indi, Helen Haines, and the French Ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thebault, in front of an appeciative audience of more than 100 locals, vistors and guests.

An amount of $40,000 was raised by the community of Villers- Bretonneux in France after the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires for the project – a gesture of appreciation after the state of Victoria provided support to the French town which was devastated in WWI.

The project also received funding from the Rotary Club of Albury ($50,000) and the Australian government’s Stronger Communities Program ($15,000) to fit it out the premises. Other support was provided by Border Trust, Towong Shire Council, Indigo Power and Towong Hill Station owner, John Mitchell ($15,000).

The new FoodShare premises now feature six cold storage food appliances, offices and amenities including a kitchen and meal area for volunteers and space for other visiting agencies.

“Today I feel humbled to be present here,” Mr Thebault said.

“When the villagers of Villers-Bretonneux heard about the terrible fires that were affecting the people of Victoria they said ‘how can we help?’ and I’m very proud that this is one of the projects that benefitted from their solidarity.”

The eventual opening of the new premises has been a long and at times, frustrating journey for FoodShare co-ordinators Pastors Carol and Douglas Allen.

Corryong FoodShare Services began operations in 1995 as Corryong Food Pantry and was located at various sites before undergoing a name change and relocating to the former Scout Hall in Donaldson Street in 2005.

Following reformation of the 1st Corryong Scout Group in 2019, FoodShare was searching for a new home once again.

After a number of stebacks it eventually relocated to the former Girl Guides’ block in Harris Street.

Pastor Douglas (88) gave an emotional thanks to the people of Villers- Bretonneux in a prayer and spoke glowingly of the service’s bright future.

Dr Haines has been a staunch supporter of the project and said it had been an amazing story.

“It’s an incredibly exciting moment to be officially opening this extraordinary facility,” she said.

“Although the community of Corryong might seem small, they are mighty, they are strong, they are resilient and they are compassionate.

“These values and attributes are embodied in this building.

“Pastor Douglas and Pastor Carol are exceptional leaders.”

Corryong Courier 30 November 2023

This article appeared in the Corryong Courier, 30 November 2023.

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