WHEN household budgeting becomes so hard that skipping meals is the only way to make ends meet, a growing number of Orange residents are turning to FoodCare to access quality food at a fraction of its retail price.
Established in Orange 12 months ago, the volunteer service allows people to purchase 40 different food and household items at a price that is considerably less than the supermarkets sell them.
FoodCare client Val Harding said she used FoodCare to buy the basics for her household, which includes her three children and her partner who recently lost his job.
“I’ve got bills and rent to pay and FoodCare helps me save a couple of dollars, and I can get things like milk and bread for free,” she said.
“I try to budget, but it’s hard. Without it my budget would be a lot tighter.”
Ms Harding said the money she saved by shopping at FoodCare allowed her to buy extra items for her children to take to school, such as fresh fruit.
She says most people she knows are aware of the service FoodCare offers and, like her, shop there every week.
Yesterday Ms Harding visited FoodCare with her daughter and grandson and said she was pleased all three generations of her family had access to such a service.
FoodCare committee member Anne Hopwood, who also manages all 50 of the organisation’s volunteers, said the service targeted people who were “finding life a little bit hard”.
“There are people who struggle with bills and utilities so this helps with the housekeeping, helps the dollar go a little bit further,” she said.
There are already 100 people registered with the service and Ms Hopwood expects the customer base to grow once word spreads.
“Until people come and experience it, they don’t know what we have available, and they may be concerned about the cost,” she said.
Ms Hopwood said many shoppers were surprised to learn they only had to pay $5 for five items, with a limit of $30 for 30 items per person.
The items on offer include staples such as flour and eggs, however, there are also personal items such as shampoo and toilet paper available.
Ms Hopwood says FoodCare’s location in the heart of Glenroi has proved a stumbling block for residents of Bowen, many of whom do not know there is free community transport, operated by Carewest, taking Bowen residents to Glenroi.
Alice Bingham finds it hard to get to Glenroi every week, but says it is worth the effort.
“It makes a big difference to me,” she said.
Ms Bingham has a 15-year-old son and says it can be hard juggling her finances and putting food on the table.
“Sometimes I go without meals and most days I don’t have breakfast,” she said.
FoodCare is open every Tuesday from 9.30am to 12.30pm and operates at the Glenroi Community Centre in Garema Road.