Last year when Pastor Gary Brown of Yass Vine Church, started seeing an increasing need for food relief from people in the community he decided to not only assist in the short term but to look for longer term solution to help those who were struggling.
After forming a team including Sharleen Bailey and looking for practical ways to help the community they started a FoodCare programme in May which is part of a larger initiative that has been operating for six years and currently operates at ten locations across Sydney and NSW.
The Vine Community FoodCare programme provides affordable groceries, free bread, fruit and veg to families and individuals in need and gives them the dignity of selecting their own food as well as warm atmosphere where a chat and a cuppa are always welcome too!
Vine Community FoodCare Coordinator, Sharleen Bailey said they’ve only been open for 4 months and already over 140 people have registered and around 40 people come every Thursday to the programme and for some, it is the difference between having food in the cupboard or not.
“The people coming for help range in age from 17 to 88 and are from all walks of life – single mums, veterans, seniors, people who have lost their jobs and women who have lost their husbands. Some come to us on an ongoing basis, others just every now and then when they are feeling the pinch. We are also able to provide emergency relief packages when needed,” Sharleen said.
Sharleen said the service was certainly addressing a need in the community with the response from community members so far being positive.
“We may live in the ‘lucky country’ but there are people out there doing it tough as difficult times can hit anyone. Our clients like the fact that the food is a hand up, not a handout,” she said.
“We have one client who has recently become a volunteer. She puts the fruit and veg packs together each week and does an incredible job. She says FoodCare is the highlight of her week – that we’ve become her family.”
“Another client has said that financially it’s been a great help, especially with the fruit, vegetables and bread. She’s able to use the veggies all during the week so her children can have vegetables each night.”
With support from local donors, the bulk of food provided is from Foodbank NSW & ACT – with key staple groceries like bread, pasta, rice, fruit, vegetables tea, coffee, cereal and canned foods helping to feed pensioners, low income families and centrelink card holders at a subsidised price.
“Foodbank NSW & ACT facilitates such an incredible service and we would not be able to operate without their help. It’s astonishing that the food they rescue would otherwise be destined for landfill!”
“There are many people doing it tough in our community, going hungry and not able to feed their kids. We are just humbled to hear how the service we are providing is helping people stretch what they have and taking the pressure off them,” said Sharleen.
This is just one of the many good stories that we hear daily from our charity partners who receive food from Foodbank NSW & ACT! It’s only through the support of friends like you that Foodbank is able to rescue millions of kilos a year and provide them on for hungry and needy Aussies.
If you’d like to help us continue to make a difference in the lives of people in Yass and other rural areas of NSW & ACT please give a gift today and help us rescue more food.