Vine Community FoodCare expanding to meet demand

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COMMUNITY: Almost 180 locals have registered at Vine Community FoodCare since the initiative opened its doors on May 7 this year.  The service provides access to low cost and free groceries to struggling families in the Yass community.

“We knew there was some need for a service like this,” said co-ordinator Sharleen Bailey, “but we have been surprised by the numbers, and saddened by the stories of those battling to make ends meet.  We are open one day a week, for just two-and-a-half hours, and we are seeing an average of 40 people every week.  There are a lot of families and individuals doing it tough out there.”

Operated by the Yass Vine Church, FoodCare has been sharing the church building on Lead Street since it opened.  With the church soon to move to new premises down the Wee Jasper Road, the service will enjoy having the building to itself.

“We are looking forward to having more permanent shelving and displays, rather than setting up and packing down every week,” she said.  “We are also hoping to use the extra room to stock more product lines, including refrigerated and frozen items,” she said.

In addition, more room will be available for the ‘café’ area.

Volunteers who have been helping out at the Vine Church's FoodCare service. PHOTO: Katharyn Brine

Volunteers who have been helping out at the Vine Community FoodCare service. 

“Lots of our clients love to hang around after they do their shop to enjoy a cuppa and a chat.  It can get super crowded, so it’ll be lovely to have more space for people to relax and hang out.”

Vine Community FoodCare operates every Thursday from 10am – 12.30pm and is located at 66 Lead Street, Yass.

Anyone with a Centrelink concession card is able to register making the service available to a wide range of people.

“Our clients range in age from 17 to 81, and include residents from Boorowa to Murrumbateman,” Mrs Bailey says.

Hampers start at $8 and members can self-select from a range of staple foods, cereals, pasta and personal items.

FoodCare coordinators Kurt and Sharleen Bailey preparing food items last Thursday.

FoodCare coordinators Kurt and Sharleen Bailey preparing food items before market day.

“The minimum purchase also provides members with access to free bread, fruit and vegetables,” says Mrs Bailey.

Grocery items are sourced through Foodbank NSW, OzHarvest and local donors, including all three Yass supermarkets.  Local growers have also been quick to support the programme.

“We are delighted that all the supermarkets have come on board, donating items every week.  We have also had locals dropping off excess fruit and veg from their gardens,” Mrs Bailey said.  “It’s a special thing to see locals supporting locals.”

Vine Community FoodCare will be closed for three weeks over Christmas – the last day for the year is next Thursday, December 17 and they will reopen on January 14 2016.

Vine Community FoodCare is part of a larger initiative that has been running for the past six years and currently services fourteen locations across Sydney and NSW.

The FoodCare service will be expanding their range to include refrigerated goods.

The FoodCare service will be expanding their range to include refrigerated goods.

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